Race day is special. It's a glorious intersection (collision) of dreams, plans, hopes, work, effort and invested resources. Simply getting through all of the steps required to toe the start line is a massive undertaking as we've talked about in the first 6 parts of this series.
When it comes down to it, execution is simply about being relaxed. You have carefully planned, trained and strategized for this event. You have gone through every detail and possible scenario in your head. You know exactly what to do in order to get the most out of yourself. Despite what your anxiety may fuel you to believe on race day, YOU ARE READY.
Often times its the emotional swirl of the last minute "what ifs" that crush us. What if I didn't train hard enough? What if it rains? What if (insert name of competitor) shows up unexpectedly? The thoughts fly in and freak us out, the stress sets in, and that's when things become dangerous.
You cannot allow anxiety and stress to change your plan or distract you on race day.
When you're prepping your gear before the start, if you are distracted, you could lose focus and forget something important like bringing enough nutrition. When the gun goes off, you could get caught up in the excitement and go out too hard. If you're paying too much attention to what the racers around you are doing during the race, you may end up forgetting to fuel. There are a million mistakes that can be made during a race that can all be traced back to anxiety and stress.
Remember a few things on race day:
1. This is not the last race you'll ever do (probably), and as such, do your best but don't worry too much about getting the perfect result. Just do the best you can on that day.
2. This race does not define you to the world, the racing community, and it certainly shouldn't to yourself. Race as best as you can, but if things go wrong, that is not the end of the world. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, this is not the most important thing you'll ever do. Even if its the Olympics.
3. You want to do well, and the best way to do that is to relax, laugh a bit, and have fun. There is nothing more you can do to prepare. You might as well soak in the race atmosphere and enjoy being there with your fellow competitors.
Putting your mind at ease will help you execute like a pro, leaning on the months (and maybe years) of prep you have put in to get to this point. Rest on that planning, relax, and do what you've trained your body to do.