During The Race
Racing is tough. There are no two ways about it. At some point on your way to a great race or a new PR, you’re going to hurt and you’re going to have self-doubts. Letting negative thoughts creep into your mind is one of the easiest ways to derail your performance.
Stay Positive With Self-Affirmation And Self-Talk
Before you begin the race, decide on a few easy to remember mantras that will help you gain confidence and persevere through any rough patches during a race. Make sure that all the words in your mantra are positive. For example, use “I am strong, I can do this” as opposed to “push through the pain, don’t give up”. The second mantra elicits negative connotations with the words “pain” and “give up”.
Likewise, you can employ mental cues to remind yourself to focus on proper form when going up a hill or when you start to get tired. I like the mantra “relax and go” in the last mile of a race to remind myself not to tighten my face and shoulders as I get tired. Find your positive mantra and use it when the going gets tough.
Granted, no amount of mental imagery and visualization during training and racing will compensate for a poor training regimen. However, if you’re already pushing your physical limits and want to take your race performances to another level, incorporating visualization techniques into your training and racing can provide the advantage you need.