Mental preparation to help achieve your goals

club running

With many clubs organising virtual racing along with England Athletics and Scottish Athletics offering virtual relay competition this week, there are plenty of virtual challenges to get stuck into. Are you ready and raring to go for your next virtual event?

A quick look at the calendar shows a spread of events that are on this week but whatever your challenge you should prepare well if you want to bring your handicap score down.

For a weekend race, by Friday, the training should all be in the bag and there really is nothing more you can do now - or is there? Well, actually there is. The physical training may now be done but the psychological training should be on-going right the way up to the race and also through it! Here are a couple of strategies to help you get the best from yourself:

Starting from today you can use imagery.

If someone wants to sell you something they are likely to use images or stimulate your imagination to create neuromuscular impulses that lead to physical responses in your body. If you want to achieve your running goal you can use imagery that will help you do just that. Read more about how to do this here.

Pre competition routines will help to control your nerves. This may start the day before the race or on race day. Work back from the planned start time. Some of the things you need to factor in are eating and drinking and when to do this before the race, warming up, visiting the toilet (remember that there could be queues), collecting your number and pinning it onto your race top, collecting your race chip and putting it onto your racing shoes, finding your position on the start line etc. Once you have made a list of all the things that you need to do you can put it into a timeline and devise a routine to go through before the start. If you can pack your bag and organise your kit the day before that may help control anxiety as you will feel organised and in control. Read more about race preparation here.

Much of this will be void in virtual conditions, but worth noting for when normality returns, which we hope will be soon with the vaccines now being rolled out and approaching two million already.  

Check out our Training and Advice section for the support and advice it offers on all aspects of training. Good luck wherever you race and all the best with bringing your handicap score down.