I AM PREPARED…I AM CONFIDENT…I AM…UH OH!

packingforcdaI am the queen of pre-race routines. I have amazing organization skills when it comes to packing my race bag, and I am always sure to arrive early. I’ve got my pre-race routine down, which is vital since I’m not a morning person. I anticipate changes in this routine that may occur given the location or size of a particular race. I line up feeling confident in my preparations. I assure myself that I’ve completed every step in my routine and even double-check how I’ve tied my shoes.

Then the countdown begins. It’s no longer about the physical preparation; it’s now about being mentally prepared. In those final 5 seconds before the start of a race, the adrenaline kicks in and my mind is racing! This results in two basic scenarios. Scenario 1 is when I have to focus on controlling my excitement so I do not go out too fast leaving me staggering across the finish line. Scenario 2 is where I have to focus on taming my anxiety and staying relaxed so I can make it across the starting line.

dsc01272Personally, I most often follow scenario 2 when it comes to distance races. Don’t believe me…I have photographic evidence. I believe my face reads “Wait…I don’t…I mean…YIKES…how many miles is this…ummm…I…what.” I then quickly remind myself of all the miles I’ve logged leading up to race day. Deep breath. I then look down at my left shoe. Why? Well there is one nail that doesn’t have sparkly polish on it due to all those training runs. Looking at my shoe serves as a more visual reminder of the effort I’ve made. Another deep breath followed by my personal mantra, and I’m across the starting line. I am relaxed, in control and ready to race.

What are your pre-competition or pre-race routines? Do you even have one? These routines may seem mechanical at first but give it a try. With some fine-tuning these routines can help you better control your responses to surges of adrenaline and allow you to quickly work through those last minute moments of terror!

About the Author: Lisa Peetz received an M.A. in Sports and Exercise Psychology. Lisa is an avid runner who appreciates and is addicted to marathon running. She uses her athletic experience in her mental skills training by individualizing skills to be both sports and life specific.