Though we don’t always feel courageous and strong at the start of every race, we toe it up and do it anyways – pushing past the fear and nerves, looking forward to just getting going.
Race Day can be met with such a hate-love relationship. Depending on how you prepared for the said race, you will either help or hurt the outcome of your day. No matter how well you train, if you're human, you will always experience a case of the race day jitters. However, we can make it better.
SCE Fitness located in downtown Spokane, WA strives to help those who want more out of life, not just by meeting their goals, but rather far exceeding them.
We have had a handful of athletes/professionals come through our doors who aspire to race for a living, influenced by a desire to live out a life of committing to commitment, enjoying more of the journey, and getting lost in it.
But today I am talking about how everyday people have become true pioneers in their races, obtaining podium wins in their relative age groups without even having “winning races” as a goal.
Here are 3 ways you can become more than you have ever imagined and be Race Day Ready with confidence and vigor:
1. Get Lost In The Journey (The Mind)
When we take the heaviness of winning off our shoulders and concentrate on “why” we started racing, we can rest in the fact that we are not trying anymore, but rather training to become the best version of ourselves. We will not be perfect nor do we have to be.
Perfectionism is the enemy and we must train our minds to think differently- change starts in the brain. Changing the neural pathways in our brain takes time. Give yourself 100 days to be mindful of what goes in and out of your brain and get ahead of the problems that have caused defeat.
Write them down, make a list and name it, “My Stinking Thinking Reversal Plan”. Hey, you can name it what you want but make sure your brain knows it’s under attack for good – for your good and for the good of others.
In one column you will have a list of all the things that make you think negatively about things you know are not true. A lot of times when we are hungry, tired or under stress, we can think more easily on the negative rather than the positive.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you're right.” - Henry Ford
The idea here is to go from application or head knowledge to implementing a focused plan of attack. We are now moving from storing information to the power of using it.
In the second column next to the recurring problem or stinking thinking, you will have a way out. A pull on your emotional heartstrings that will move you to clearly seeing the situation for what it is. What you TRAIN your brain to think on will help your mind more readily go there when you feel under attack.
For example, in my negative thinking column (stinking thinking) I will write “yelling at my kids”. In the next column (logic) I will write “they need to be tough”- logic meets the words of affirmation that help change our brain function.
The 3rd column (take action) will say “I Love My Babies” These words that deliver the logic from my brain into my heart prepare my body for action. I say it over and over again until I believe it.
As a life coach, we are only barely touching the surface but it's a good place to begin.
This works with health & fitness, race day, or anything in life you catch yourself thinking more negatively about than you should.
Like you have heard before, it’s 80/20. 80% of the time you will be working toward your goals with a focused plan. 20% of the time you will be “failing” but still on your way to victory. In actuality, you will learn more in your failures than you ever will at the peak of your life if you will allow them.
If our focus is on success without commitment we will have neither. Committing ourselves to commitment will help us learn, grow, enjoy the journey, and see much more through the process.
2. Taper & Re-stimulation Week
Never in my life have I met an athlete who loves taper week. It seems to go against everything we worked so hard to gain.
As most athletes know, taper is an essential part of racing. Every athlete that is on a strict workout plan should have some kind of taper. This is dependent on many factors such as length of the program, length of the race, race type, overall race goals, how strict you were to the program, etc.
If you are unable to keep to a longer periodization program 80% of the time, the taper may actually hurt you rather than help.
If our taper is going to be the best, stick with the designed program and keep going till the end, don’t let up.
If you have too much rest, you will find that taper is a hindrance. You must finish strong but also remember that each day stacks upon another and without those increasing elements you will not be primed to run at your full potential.
Lastly and most importantly under “Taper & Re-stimulation”...If your attention to details and programing was spot on and you have worked your way properly through taper week/s, this is for you...
What we talk about next is priceless and the key to your greatest success.
Sure rolling and dynamic warmups help the body's synovial fluid lubricate the joints and reduce friction, which is a great thing and must never be avoided.
But there is a big difference between physically warming up the body and being cardiovascular-ly ready to race.
For many years we have studied the concepts that have frustrated many athletes who were never able to advance their position in racing and it has come down to this one missing area of focus.
By implementing this key ingredient just last year, SCE Fitness had 17 podium winners in 2 of our last races. Ages ranging from 26 all the way to 68… that is impressive no matter how you look at it.
The difference between being cardiovascular-ly ready at the starting line and 30 minutes later in the race is the difference between 20-30th place and top 10 or podium. Yeah, it’s that big of a deal – it’s incredible actually.
Re-stimulation is the key ingredient after a solid taper. Your body has rested, your sleep has been deep, your muscle glycogen is full and your mind is ready to compete.
But this is not enough if you want to be at your peak. The main muscle in your cardiovascular system is your heart and we must help initiate take-off.
The heart pumps blood to and through the muscles of the body. When re-stimulation is done properly, the body will begin the push on the endocrine system to re-fire from a more dormant state (taper week/s) in comparison to peak training.
This will help increase adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, and other key hormones that will make your race feel so much better when your heart rate is high, and it should be if you're racing. But remember, enjoy the journey most of all. Winning is just an extra cherry up top.
When and how do I re-stimulate without using up the energy reserves that I have worked so hard to increase?
This is a more elaborate conversation depending on many factors. Like anything great, it takes time to learn and build that relationship to greatness.
This is a good generic place to begin if you have a running race:
2 days out from race day. *Keep your heart rate between 70%-79% through all 3 elements below.
- Take a medium to light Bulgarian Bag ranging from 25lb-75lb
Distance ranging from .06 to .12 up 10-15% incline.
- Next, take that bag off but keep your incline the same and in the green zone (if you have a Myzone) if not 70%-79% effort level.
- Run-flat in the green zone .25 distance.
- Take a 3min break and repeat 1-3 x3
**Between each of these sets feel free to roll anything tight during your break, be sensitive in these areas – this will help you stay injury-free.
You want to do your best to get the next set to feel better than the last. If your taper was proper you may find you have a new efficiency level where you're able to accomplish more with less energy as you move through your sets.
Do this also on race day giving yourself plenty of time to physically warm-up and cardiovascular-ly set yourself free.
The next day and the day of are also important but again it really depends on the race.
Again this is a bit generic, but a good place you can start learning how to perform at peak levels right where you are in your level of fitness.
3. Don’t Race With What You Haven’t Trained With
I’m sure you've heard this before, but for many reasons such as convenience, this is not often done well.
A lot of races are lost in cramps – stomach issues caused by experimenting on race day. Don’t do it!
When we fail to plan we plan to fail.
Prep, prepare, and execute with precision.
If you keep experimenting with different nutrition during training, you will find what works and what doesn’t.
Keep your head held high, keep scaling, overcoming and take someone up with you! 🙂
I hope this article has blessed you and has given you greater hope for your next race, if you would like to know more and go deeper about our performance, send us a message!