One's only rival is one's own potentialities. One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities. - Abraham Maslow
Some of you have half marathons coming up in a few weeks. Yea to all of you, I'm so excited that you have taken on this challenge. If you are running Platte, I have some good news, I'll be out there with you. Steve gave me the A-Okay to run the 1/2 on the 5th. I can't wait to be there with you as you cross that line and achieve your goals and dreams!
So this week I traveled to a race I have never competed in and it was a National Championship. As you know, one of the reasons I'm working on the mental stuff this year was because I want to know that I can perform to the best of my ability during the big, important races. I think the sign of a strong mental athlete is that they don't let the pressure of big competition get to them, that they are able to process that environment in a way that isn't daunting. They can step on the line confident and secure in their abilities, no matter what race they are in. That's the goal with all this mental work. Sorry if I sound like a broken record.
So what is it that happens in the days before a big race? This last week, I drove with my dad, traveled to a different state, all in the name of this one race. Not just any race, but the finale of my snowshoeing season. It's hard not to be nervous. You train hard, and then you travel and the vibes around the situation are building building building. You dreamed about the race, and devoted many resources to it. No wonder we get nervous. We get there and there are other racers around at packet pickup, and there is tension in the air. Everyone waiting, waiting for the event.
You can easily see where this can go. Competitors can literally set themselves up for a bad performace before they even step on the line. I want to talk a little bit about the "mental space" you should be in before a race. What should you be telling yourslef so that you don't end up sabogating your important race before the start line.
You training is done. During the days leading up to a big race, the money is in the bank. You may have wanted more money in the bank, but it doesn't matter, because what you have is what you will need to work with on race day. Do not run a little harder in the days prior to "put icing on the cake" or "convince yourself that you are where you want to be". It's there, just believe that it is. Wherever you are...that's where you are, stand firm and solid in that belief. Where you are is called your POTENTIAL.
How good you CAN do in the race is allready decided, it's your potential. What isn't decided is the extent your mind will play in the race. Your mental training, and how you act prior/during you race determines what %age of your potential you can attain. If you stay in a good head space then you will compete to your potential...just remember, your potential is already set in stone. The really good athletes get themsleves to the start line with the best chance of performing to their potential. You can do all these little things to sabotage yourself. So what are the little things?
ANYTHING you say, think, or do that counteracts the belief that "Your potential is all ready determined" will decrease the percentage of your potential you can attain. Any Any Any action that plays into doubt of your potential will effect your race mentally, and therefore physically.
From a personal standpoint I struggle with self seeding. I am such an internet geek and a results geek that I tend to think I know how good everyone is because I read blogs and check out results. I threw all of that out the window this last month. I can't predict anyones race and the more I do that, the more I harm my own potential to pass them in a race. You don't know what sort of head space those around you are in, and you surely don't want their issues to become your issues in a race. Clear your head of expectations, and stand strong on your own two feet. Devise a race plan and stick to it.
So there it is: do your training, and when you get into the days before your race, reconcile with yourself that you are as trained as you are going to be, stand up on that concept with 2 feet, and don't let anything you do, say or think make you step off that pedestal.
You will arrive on that line ready to go, and you will have a successful day.
Homework this week is to start putting together your pre-race routine for your next big race. Be sure to schedule some time to develop your race plan. Also set aside some mental time in the days before to reflect on your training and convince yourself that you are ready to go and that what is....IS.
The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential. -Calvin Coolidge