OK, during the past three months you have neglected work and let it pile up on your desk. It would be chivalrous of you to say that you did this to spend more time with your family. However, family time has also been sacrificed as you train for that type “A” triathlon race. You have followed a great training plan and your taper is going well. Since you have dedicated so much time to this endeavor, let’s get you that extra edge, the mental edge. There is a motto that has been around for years stating, “Racing is 10% physical and 90% mental.” It’s a slight exaggeration, but there is sense to it. Do you have any training partners who kick your butt in training only to finish ten minutes behind you in a race? If so, they lack that mental toughness and preparation.
I visualize for any race and even certain training sessions. For me, the best way to visualize is to actually know the geographical area of the event. The earlier you see the area, the more time you can visualize. The most convenient time for me to visualize is right before bedtime. This may be hard for some because they might fall asleep. That’s OK as long as you get your visualization in first. I like to relax the body by taking deep breaths and relaxing muscles. After breathing in for three seconds, I flex muscles in a certain part of my body for three to five seconds. As I breathe out, I let the muscles relax. I do each muscle group twice throughout the entire body. This takes five to seven minutes depending on how many muscle groups are flexed at once. I like to start at the toes and end with the face.
When relaxed, I take my mind to the race site and visualize from race preparation to race finish. I visualize how I feel and what to expect. I visualize how to fix problems if they arise. In doing so, I won’t panic if it actually happens such as goggles breaking during the swim or getting a flat tire. It is also important to visualize the prefect race where your form is great, you feel great and you are racing at your optimum. The more you visualize, the more race day will seem automatic. You just put your body on autopilot.