I previously published the “31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence”, a series of key tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How do you plan on reaching your goals?
Your commitment to training hard for miles and miles is but one tool to excel in sports (and other endeavors). The hard work is required, but your effectiveness will only be maximized by taking a holistic approach to triathlon. Nutrition, recovery and technique are a few examples that will add to your performance gains with a little effort.
This tip is particularly relevant, given many of us are about to race, putting into action all the hard training of Winter.
Visualization is a technique that has been used by elite athletes for decades. It involves mentally rehearsing your race and picturing yourself achieving your goals.
Picture yourself conquering a weakness, of racing fast and performing strongly. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line arms raised aloft, having achieved your goals.
If you get nervous pre-race, anticipate yourself calm and relaxed, steady heart-rate, breathing comfortably while awaiting the gun.
It is not my favorite sport but I am always impressed with the focus of baseball pitchers. They appear to visualize each and every pitch just beforehand.
The more you do it, the more stretch goals become achievable. Picture yourself swimming smooth and long, efficiently powering through the bike leg and finishing fast and strong on the run. The joy of visualization is that you can do it anywhere – while on a long swim or run, in the office, or commuting to work on the train.
Like anything, practice it and you will improve. I have heard anecdotes of swimmers, with practice, being able to rehearse their race within tenths of a second of their goal time!
Picturing yourself outperforming and conquering major challenges will help with your confidence on race day, and will help as you churn in the wash of the swim or as you struggle up that final, steep hill.
I’m in my 30’s but still fantasize about winning Olympic gold and later becoming a professional football player. The more I picture myself covered in glory, the more certain I am that it will happen.
So, picture yourself long and strong before your next race. You’ll find your confidence soars and you’ll be primed to perform when the starting gun goes off.