It is Sunday, July 27th. At this time next week I will be somewhere on the run course at Ironman Boulder. For the last several days the race has been front and centre on my mind. I spent a good amount of time writing up my race plan as I really wanted to think hard about how I am going to approach the day. As part of the planning process I detailed out the strategies I plan to use to stay positive during the race.
My number one goal for the day is to make Ironman Boulder my best day possible. I have been staring at that sticky note in my office for months…repeating those words over and over. To me it means that I’m hoping to have a banner day by the clock, but that I also want to have the best experience while trying to do that.
In the past my brain has held me back on races. I’ve listened to that little voice in my head that says I can’t or that I need to stop and walk. I want to overcome that next Sunday. Here are the strategies I plan to use to stay positive over the course of the day:
- Waking Up:
- My day starts with making sure that I get up on the right side of the bed. Repeat to myself “I’m doing an Ironman today!!” Being able to race an Ironman is a gift!
- A positive day starts off with getting enough calories in before the race starts. I’ve laid out what I plan to eat and when, I just need to follow it!
- The Swim:
- I’ve been in enough races recently where I’ve been in the mix of things in the swim. I’ve been punched in the jaw, I’ve been pulled, scratched (ladies…please trim your nails!!) and it hasn’t bothered me. Just stay in the moment, breathe and focus on my stroke.
- Feel a sense of accomplishment every time I pee on the swim. It seems like a silly thing to say, but it works for me! I told my coach that I wish they gave awards out for peeing on the swim because I would definitely win one.
- The Bike:
- I was really amazed by how well my 180 km bike ride went for me mentally. I tried very hard to stay within a box that day. What do I mean by that? I never once thought about the entire distance I had to ride. My Garmin laps every 10 km so I really thought about the day in 10 km increments. That really helped me to focus on the task at hand and not get overwhelmed or discouraged that I still had so far to go.
- Eat. I’ve found if my mood starts to turn sour it is because I haven’t been eating enough. My Garmin beeps every 15 min at me, reminding me to drink and take nutrition in. To help perk up the taste buds I plan to put a small bag of plain salty chips in my special needs bag. I figure my palate will need a bit of a break from all of the sweet sports nutrition I’ll be taking in.
- Watch my power. I don’t know what the course is going to be like…what are the hills like compared to what I ride around Calgary? Will it be windy? Ultimately if I watch my power then I know I’m putting out the right amount of effort regardless of what the course or weather is like.
- The Run:
- It is really important for me to run the marathon! Taking in enough nutrition on the bike will help to set me up well for that, but I need to continue to eat on the run course. I’m going to be relying on the aid stations because they will be stocked with GU’s, my favourite gels that I use on all my training runs.
- Power Words: my two words are focus and believe. Repeating these to myself may be the boost I need.
- Sometimes you just need to focus on keeping your feet moving, one in front of the other. When I needed my brain to tune out but my feet to carry on at the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon I wound up repeats my husband’s birthday, over and over to myself. It was just the trick I needed on race day.
- Power Phrases: I have worked hard for this. This is my best day ever. Positive phrases reminding myself of the goal.
- Seeing friends and family. The course is well set up to see my teammates on the race course and I always get a big boost from seeing them. The run course also goes past the house we are renting several times. I’ll be able to see Neil and my parents several times out there! That was the one downfall about the Penticton run course. It was not spectator friendly. I know I’ll want to run past them with a big smile on my face every time I see them.
So those are some of the strategies I plan to use to really keep my brain positive and in the game on Sunday.
What are some of your favourite mental strategies to keep going and pushing hard when it starts to get hard in a race?