Controlling nerves on race day – Where your mind goes, everything follows.
At the start of a race your heart is pounding, the feel of nervous energy surrounds you and finally all those hours of training you have logged are being put to the test. Athletes live for this rush of excitement and feeling of being fully alive; recognizing this feeling and channelling it into your performance can be the difference in your race.
The best way to turn your nerves into confidence it’s by firstly recognizing what physical and emotional aspects of you are nervous. On race day nerves can get the better of you and make you feel out of control. However, by recognizing what exactly these feelings are it will becomes easier to control them. A physical response to nervousness is normally a heavy heart beat. When you feel this heavy heart come on respond to it by thinking ‘this is the adrenaline in my body telling me I’m ready to race.’ An emotional response can be thinking “I’m so nervous, I don’t know what to do I’m going to come last.” A counter response to this could be “I’m ready to race, I have spent hours training for this, I’m going to give it everything. Let’s go!”
By creating a performance focus plan for racing you will be able to keep your focus where you want it and where it will work for you. If you focus on your strengths you will be strong. The more you can focus on why you’re capable and how you’re capable your confidence will grow. During your race relax your breathing and absolutely live in the moment. Think about the exact step in front of you; don’t let your mind slip into negative thoughts. Visualize your success and success will follow.
Before your next race write down what negative thoughts may come into your head. Next to every negative thought write down a positive counter thought. You will ALWAYS do better with a positive mind frame than a negative one. Practice this during your training and even during your everyday life. By doing this you will continue to improve, grow, live, and excel in positive ways in your racing and life. What I love about cycling and triathlon is at some point during our many hours of training we have visualised winning or having the perfect race. Sometimes that is enough, that is your moment….that is living