Race day is upon us. Use these techniques to help calm your nerves, approach the day with gratitude, and give you the tools when things get tough.
Take a Moment
The excitement of race day can stir up some anxiety that can be an advantage. Too much anxiety can negatively impact your outlook, your physical responses, and even your racing. Take a moment to look around — you’re surrounded by individuals striving to put forth their best foot. Enjoy their company. Find comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
I’m guessing you just took a good breath. Breathing is an automatic response: we don’t have to think about it, but most of those breaths are shallow. Often times, we need the reminder to take a moment to focus on a few cycles of deeper breathing. Close your eyes and take a full breath from your belly. Feel the rise of the abdomen on your inhale; feel the release of your tension on your exhale. Repeat. Breathe.
Mindful breathing will calm anxiety, lower blood pressure, and facilitate full oxygen exchange. This is a great practice to implement before the swim leg.
Put on Your Power Suit
Sure, this is your tri kit, or race gear of choice, but it’s bigger than that. Be mindful when getting dressed — you have somewhere important to be. Stand tall, shoulders back, head lifted. Like Wonder Woman, Ironman, or your favorite super hero, you have your own power suit. Now, how do you feel?
A mantra needs to be individualistic — the mantra for your training partner might not be a good one for you. So, how do you pick a mantra and why do you care? A mantra is going to be a word or a series of words that help keep you moving through both good and bad times, either in training or in a race. When you put on your power suit, how do you feel? What emotions or positive words present? Recall that feeling, those words, that emotion, when you’re hitting a wall.
Let’s recap: you took a moment to breathe deeply and you’re all dressed to the liking of your favorite super hero. Now, plant yourself at the start. Visualize your feet screwing into the earth; don’t sink into the ground, rather reflect your energy against that connection. You are like a stalagmite shooting up. Take a deep breath and reengage with your mantra.
You’re ready to go!