I am siting here in Cairns, after a good swim on the course at Palm Cove – and it’s a good day.
Actually, it’s a great day.
I love race week. The air is mixed in part fear, part excitement, part anticipation.
It’s the week where everything comes together – months of work, preparation and dedicated practice, all come down to this week.
It is the best time to get yourself into a relaxed headspace – there isn’t room for panicking or second-guessing.
No “what-if’s”. No playing down your ability. Just get out there and get it done.
In race week, you are have only one job: FOCUS ON YOUR RACE.
No one else’s but your own.
Race week really is about you. Not me or anyone else.
It IS all about YOU.
This can be tricky for some. The biggest race killer isn;t the wind, the weather or better athletes – it’s the head.
Sure, there are many distractions in race week – it’s always a buzz.
Athletes puffing chests, questioning race times, questioning which gear to use, and why. Who will get a spot.
And there is the expo – lots of noise, loads of (miss)-information.
None of these can help you on race day.
These are all distractions that blur your lens.
Instead, your focus should be treating the body with good nutrition, sleep and rest after your ‘final touch’ sessions.
You should be focusing on creating the right mental framework for your day, planning out exactly how you want it to unfold and how successful you intend it to be.
Catch up with friends and the expo, but keep it short – there will be time after racing to share the stories.
Your focus should be on your expectations and how you manage them.
Not the expectations that you perceive of others, or what you think they expect of you. It really isn’t about beating your training mates to the finish, or impressing your coach.
— In fact, as coaches, the only expectation that we have of our athletes is that they turn up and execute what they have trained for. And smile whilst doing it.
We back our team 100% to do this. We know that they have worked hard, and they are ready. We know that they will have a great day.
Ultimately, anyone that cares about you, only cares that you enjoy your day, and do what you have trained to do.
That is it.
Fearing what others might think of you if you don’t live up to ‘expectations’ isn’t going to get you very far – you still have to turn up and race regardless.
The day still goes on….
Race week really is about turning your focus inwards – on to yourself and what YOU want to do.
How YOU want the day to go, and how YOU feel.
Nothing else is more important than this, which mean everything else that has puckered until now, means nothing.
There is no time for lamenting or wishing there was more time. There isn’t.
The day is going to happen with or with our you so best you get organised and get centered.
Shut the noise out. Find some quite time and get your focus on.
Get nervous – it’s a good thing. But don’t let it dictate things.
Regardless of what is going on around you, you will have a good day.
If you decide to.
I always think that racing without expectation is a good idea. Yes, have a goal, but when the gun goes, why waste energy focusing on what you are expecting of yourself.
I am not suggesting that you throw your goal away – that’s crazy. But you can create a very relaxed state of mind by shedding the anchors and getting rid of the internal and external pressures.
Instead, focus on simply doing what you do – after all, your race is the culmination of all of your past work, recovery and dedication.
So time to let loose and do your thing.
Shifting you attention away from any expectations, provides you with much better clarity of what you are doing.
Your mind becomes clear and you let the body follow the motor patterns that you have developed.
When your mind is clear of all the noise and stress, it only has one task to focus on:
As Kristian said earlier this week – the body follows the head.
So if your head is dialed in to what you need to do then you you are ready.
I know this sounds ridiculously simple but truth is it is actually a fine skill.
Most athletes in race week are going to freak out at some point. Rash decisions, second-guessing or complete confidence blow outs – these are all distractions that can and should be controlled.
Remove the stress around you.
Use your support network – lean on your coach, your advisors, your loved ones for support.
Surround yourself with the right group of people who share your desire to be awesome. If you know something or someone is dragging you down – simply take yourself somewhere else and get your focus back.
Race week is about enjoyment. Not stress.
The hard work is done, the body is ready. You just have to make sure the mind is clear. Remove the expectations.
For those that are racing – have a great day.
It is your to own.
P.S. And shout out if you are rocking some sweet TriSpecific swag – we want to see pics of you guys in the hats, shirts and kits!