The 2010 Ventura Breathe for Life Triathlon starts tomorrow morning at 7:15am with the first wave of the Olympic triathletes starting their journey in 2010’s event. My journey is that of a Sprint triathlete, so I start with wave 8, sometime around 8am. Those 45 minutes are usually the longest minutes of my life!
Sitting in a motel room right now and typing this post, I must say that I am quite nervous. These source of these nerves are the prerace jitters. Prerace jitters are nerves, thoughts, and anxiety that one experiences in the weeks or days before a major event. These are perfectly natural.
An example of prerace jitters are the questions running through my head at the moment:
- Did I train well enough over the last year?
- Do I have everything I need?
- What are the conditions going to be like?
- What if…. (place worst nightmare here)?
The bottom line is that prerace jitters are no fun. The trick is to not let them get the best of you. As much as I want to panic about the questions above and many more, I know that this is useless behavior and a waste of energy.
When the jitters start to pull you away from preparing for your best race, try these tactics:
FOCUS ON POSITIVE VISUALIZATION!
I know, I know, it is hard! But if it was easy, everyone would be doing a triathlon! Think about how well the race is going to go.
If you have time, experience the swim, bike, run courses ahead of time. Travel the weekend before, or even the day before and at the least, drive the routes. Make sure you are familiar with potential hazards, turns, hills, and any fabulous scenery that must see along the way. Make a mental library of these areas and use them in your visualization exercises. It there is a tough corner, visualize yourself going around it at top speed safely. Heck, see yourself passing your competition on this very turn!
PREPARE WITH A CHECKLIST
In the weeks before your race, start making a checklist of things that you will need throughout the triathlon. Include not only your gear for the swim, bike and run, but also nutrition/fuel needs, bad weather gear, a change of clothes and anything that you might like to have with you the day of the event to make you more comfortable.
The checklist does not have to be a work of art or even typed. In fact some of the best checklists I’ve ever written were on the backs of envelopes and napkins. Whatever it looks like, it is mental game to record the need so that you can clear the need from thought.
You don’t even have to save it from triathlon to triathlon. The master checklist is in my head and it is part of my prerace ritual to write out the checklist for the upcoming triathlon. Once I have packed and head off to the event, I seldom look at it as I am mentally prepared and comfortable.
SOCIALIZE WITH OTHER TRIATLETES
You would be surprised how wonderful it feels to arrive at an event with a group of triathletes. Not only does this help cut down on pollution and parking, but gives each triathlete a wonderful support network.
When you are alone, the mind will run wild about what has yet to come. When you are with someone, your mind is thinking about the conversation and being in the now moment. Instead of thinking about the worst case scenario, you will be laughing with your fellow triathletes at how ridiculous it was that you spilled your coffee all over your wetsuit and the crazy jokes the newbie can’t stop telling.
WRITE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE – BLOG!
At the moment, I do find myself alone in a motel room waiting for friends to arrive later. Instead of letting prerace jitters drive me insane, I am sitting here typing this blog post, sharing my experiences with you all. The power of sharing is an amazing thing and I am honored to provide the posts, videos, and tweets of my triathlon career. I get just as much motivation and inspiration from you all in return for simply sharing my life.
Don’t hesitate to tweet, write, and share. If you find yourself alone for a few minutes and something is stuck on your mind, write it down, discuss it with yourself and before you know it, it will solve itself.
BRING IT ON
These were just a few of the strategies that you can use to get around prerace jitters. The bottom-line is to never stop thinking positive, seeing yourself in positive ways and visualizing yourself crossing that finish line stronger than ever.
With that said, I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow morning and start my Sprint journey. It will be memorable, fun, and yet another fantastic milestone in my triathlon career! Bib 283 says, “Bring it on!”