After months of preparation and training, Shanna and Laura will take on their first tri at the Grand Rapids Triathlon this weekend! I've been coaching them behind the scenes (aka off-camera) since baby Cassidy arrived, but I am so excited to watch them succeed in person on Sunday. We caught up recently and walked through every little step of what will happen over the next few days. I also encouraged them to visualize their steps for the race - from their pre-race meal and prep, race day arrival, setting up transition, the swim, T1, the bike, T2, the run and the finish line! We do this because visualization is a very powerful tool. Visualization can help reduce race day jitters and also help with a successful race.
Visualization is one of the most important techniques used in sports psychology. The theory is that by visualizing a successful competition, athletes can actually stimulate the same brain regions as you do when you physically perform that same action. Visualization essentially programs your subconscious to move through the motions that will lead to success.
And it's super easy to do.
If you've got a big event coming up, give this simple technique a try:
1. Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably with no distractions for about 15 minutes.
2. Close your eyes and begin to mentally rehearse every step of your event from start to finish.
3. Picture yourself working hard, perfectly executing every part of your race plan, crossing the finish line and standing on the podium.
4. Don't leave any details out, and use all your senses - smell the fresh air, feel the sweat dripping, your legs pushing the pedals or your fingertips flowing through the water, taste your hydration as you visualize when you drink or take a gel, hear the crowds cheering and see yourself as the amazing athlete that you have trained to become!
Learn more about mental toughness in my blog post on Focus.