Picture this scenario: You slept well, woke up with everything prepared from the night before, stretched well and had a picture-perfect performance rehearsed in your mind. You ate a healthful carbohydrate and protein -filled breakfast and left the house with plenty of time to arrive at your event. Prepared. Nothing left on the table.
Recently, Dathan Ritzenhein, elite marathoner and current American Record holder in the 5000 meters blogged about how not cutting corners and paying attention to little things has greatly enhanced his confidence and running. Sometimes, it's easier to cut the stretching session short, drink less water than recommended, skimp on sleep. Obviously, sometimes these things may not go as planned, but the key is to capitalize on what you can control.
As disciplined as many athletes are, unfortunately, our sports often don't exist in a vacuum. Some of us are also students, employees, parents, children, etc. Balancing life and sport takes mindfulness and preparation. While it is important to not overemphasize on the "small stuff", however, it pays to hone in on those elements that we know help get us to our best on competition day. Just think of those little things you can control that make things flow a little better.
Some simple considerations include:
- Use of affirmations (a common theme across preparation and competition): "you can do this, you can succeed, you are disciplined".
- Find your that works for you and take the next step of writing it down: this can include many things and differs from athlete to athlete: packing your bag the night before, a bedtime routine, preparing breakfast and water for the morning of competition, etc.
- Schedule time to yourself to warm up both mentally and physically.
- Have a "Plan B". Account for the unexpected; for example, a teammate's injury or using an extra alarm in the morning.