Four Strategies For Overcoming Pre-Race Nerves

2. Use Mantras And Positive Self-Talk

“Often, I teach my athletes to use mantras” says Sheehan. “The goal is to encourage positive self talk to either subside nerves and refocus to more confident thoughts.”

Use a mantra that you can easily remember. I like ones that rhyme, such as “fast as a fox, strong as an ox.” More importantly, ensure that all words in your mantra are positive. “Pain is temporary” or “hurt is good” are not effective mantras as your mind subconsciously holds on to the negative words, pain and hurt.

Write your mantra on a note card and carry it around with you. You can also carry a note, piece of your training log or passage that reminds you of all the hard work you’ve done and how well you’ve prepared. I ran in my first NCAA championship almost 10 years ago and I still remember the note a good friend gave me the week before the race. Every time I got nervous before what was then the biggest race of my life, I read the note and immediately felt at ease. I used that note for years and it always dissipated any nerves I had.

RELATED: Put Your Race In Perspective

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