It's the night before your race. You have your bag packed, your flats ready by the door, and your uniform laying on the table. The whole week you've crushed all of the workouts and ate healthy meals. You couldn't be more prepared, so why are you nervous?
I get nervous before all of my races, sometimes to the point where I'm shaking with anxiety. I don't know whether it's the competing aspect, or just the fact that I know I'll be uncomfortable for 3.1 miles. I try to calm myself down, but nothing changes my nervous habits such as rushing the six other girls on varsity during the warm up, or not being able to eat.
I know other people on my team get nervous as well, and it's something I have a hard time helping them through when I go through it myself. I think everyone gets nervous, whether they show it or not. I do think you can channel your nerves positively, so that you have a better race.
Sometimes our nerves get the best of us, and we psych ourselves out, which leads to failure in the race because you never believed you could achieve anything in the first place. If instead, you hype yourself up with music and pep-talks, you will start the race with a ton of adrenaline and determination.
Some things worth trying the day of your race include:
- Finding a lucky charm that will comfort you- whether it be lucky socks or a specific song you listen to before every race.
- Talking to your team about the "game plan" (what is expected of each of you).
- NOT thinking about what your competition is doing-focus on you.
- Taking a few minutes of alone time to visualize your race. Try picturing yourself in the best possible scenario and also the worst possible scenario at key points during the race.
Good luck this season!