Should you schedule in “worry time” in race week?
The nerves start to jangle. You’re approaching the big race. The one you’ve invested lots of time training for. You might be starting to boarder on some form of “maranoia” ~ the intense psychological state of being hyper aware of every element of your body. Did you just feel a twinge? Is your calf ok? Eeee, how about your knee? You take all the time in the world to avoid every single human that might remotely have some form of virus, cough or cold.
Your psychological state is heightened even further by everything that you might need and might forget.
Doubt enters into your mind, did you do enough training? Are you really up to this? Do you have what it takes?
Jeez, your brain is full.
No wonder so many athletes (and YES you are an athlete) suffer problems sleeping problems, angst, worry and unrest in the lead us to an event. Isn’t this supposed to be the time you kick back, decrease the mileage and eat all the carbohydrate things? Within the last week your mindset can end up being the thing shot, rather than your legs.
What can we do about it?
Well what often happens is that on a day to day basis we are super busy, we are doing the things that are the obligations in our every day, working/chores/cooking/some people even clean apparently and we don’t allow these thoughts any bandwidth. Once we start to close down our tabs of the day gone by that’s when the little buggers creep in. Like stealth ninjas of the night all the pre race anxiety hits us, simultaneously with our head hitting the pillow.
So what if we gave this thoughts space during the day? What if we gave those thoughts space when we had time to allocate to them. If we weren’t thinkings these thoughts in the dead of night then we would have an opportunity to negate them or mitigate them.
When it comes to dealing with angst and worries then I like to play a little game called “truth or big fat lie.” So if your self talk is having a field day with you then simply write down what it’s saying to you. Getting it out of your head will free up a whole tonne of bandwidth to start with and it discharges the thoughts of their power over you. Sat there in black and white (or whatever colour pen you pick), chances are that at least some of them look a little ridiculous. You can then play “truth or big fat lie.” Simply go through the list and decide whether there’s absolutely any foundation/evidence in reality to the angst you’ve written.
That’ll negate a whole load of the issues.
Then we can look at mitigate. Some of the things you’re worried about might be things like forgetting kit or getting to places on time etc. You can start to look at these with your problem solvers hat on and see what steps you can take to mitigate the chances of them being an issue.
Make checklists that you can use or get the directions down or print out your hotel reservations of whatever helps you on that path to mitigation.
Remember, you can’t control everything. Control your controllables and know that the other stuff will play out as it’s meant to and if you’ve done all you can to mitigate it then you’ve done your bit.
It’s super effective to schedule in that worry time throughout the week to save you the panics as the race approaches in the dead of night.
Know that everything might not go exactly as your perfect cunning plan but ultimately it’ll be reet.
An example of this was my husband’s first 50 mile ultra race. He did all the things! He made all the lists, did all the prep and I had laminated sheets for each checkpoint I’d be his support crew with his lists of needs, his expected time of arrival and all other considerations.
We had a gold star for being organised.
He started to bring together all his race fuelling in the week leading up to the event.
A cool box was duly assembles in the dining room and lovingly filled. A kit bag was prepped and filled and then our overnight bags ready to roll.
Kids were collected by Grandma.
We headed for the event, at the other side of the country, the night before.
We pulled up at the hotel and grabbed the bags out of the car and headed to check in.
We stood in a line for checkin and the one question I posed was “where’s the cool box?”
Yup, the coolbox was at the otherside of the country, the bloomin Soreen was even buttered and wrapped in tin foil. The gels where in there, the recovery shakes, the bananas, the isotonic drinks, EVERYTHING in terms of in race nutrition and post race recovery.
So even the best plans in the world can be wasted.
I should have spent a little time in the lead up week writing that checklist shouldn’t I?!
So the moral of the story. Don’t sweat it at bedtime! Negate and mitigate and don’t forget your coolbox ?
Keep smiling (and remember, it’ll be reet)!