One way I help my athletes gain control of their mindset and ease their race morning jitters is to encourage them to listen to affirmations. This can be done in the car, before bed, waiting in line to pick up kids, or alone in a quiet setting. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, but choosing 3 or 4 mantras or affirmations can go a long way to helping an athlete stay calm and focused for their event.
I personally listen to affirmations that I downloaded from iTunes. Usually I listen a few times a week as I fall asleep to help the subconscious internalize the positive statements. There are lots of affirmations out there for various issues such as healing, earning money, self esteem, etc.
I feel that affirmations are particularly helpful in the weeks leading up to the race because this puts a strategy in place to combat “what-if” thinking. I encourage my athletes to practice positive self talk by repeating strengths out loud during training. This can be something like,”I am getting stronger and more confident in the water.”
Athletes can use visualization to overcome negative scenarios as well. This starts with a detailed mental picture of them succeeding. I often tell athletes who are nervous about the swim to visualize themselves calmly and confidently pulling through the water and making their way to transition after a successful swim.
Using good psychological strategies such as self talk, visualizations, and mantras can help athletes improve their performance and have a successful race. Mindset is SO important. Below I am sharing with you a few affirmations which I feel are helpful for all 3 disciplines. Make them your own, record yourself saying these, or simply write them down and read often.
I don’t have to be first out of the water in order to do well in this race.
Even though the water is choppy and cold ,I am wearing a wetsuit that will keep me warm and afloat.
I’ve swim thousands of yards to get ready for this race and I will finish this swim with confidence.
I’m feeling a little nervous right now but once I get going I will settle in and be fine.
I’ve practiced what to do if I feel panicky so right now I will relax and just breast stroke until I feel better.
I am a strong swimmer and I am not going to let my anxiety get the best of me.
The course is hilly but I did many hill workouts to be ready for this.
I’m not going to panic when I have a flat tire- I’ve practiced changing many flats these past few months and I know what to do.
This may seem like a long ride but if I cut it into smaller segments and take it one at a time it won’t be so overwhelming.
I have practiced my nutrition on many of my training rides and I know exactly how much I need to drink and eat for this ride.
I can hold my goal pace for this ride. I will have plenty left over for the run.
My legs are tired but I have done many bricks to prepare for this race. Although I feel tired right now I will get into a good rhythm, settle in, and relax.
I’ve run this distance many times before and I am going to make it.
I’m not going to worry about who is passing me. I am running my own race.
If I break up this half marathon (marathon) into smaller segments it will seem less overwhelming.
Even though I am in a little pain right now I have the ability to push through. I’ve done this many times before and today is no different