You’ve planned. You’ve trained. You’ve hydrated and eaten a ton of carbs. You’re ready for the big race. You’re still a bit nervous. What you don’t want to do is have a bad day because of nerves, and the best way to lessen the race day jitters is being prepared.
Chris feels the most at ease when he gets the details sorted early. He’s got a few tips for those of you who want to get organized right away.
“Arrange lodging well ahead of time. Many youth hockey tourneys, weddings, or other winter happenings have messed up procrastinating skiers by gobbling up all the lodging within many miles. Remember – you’re not the only ones looking for a room!
Read the key details about the event – the “Where and Whens”! Just because you have done a particular race 30 times, that doesn’t mean registration is still open on race morning. See if you need to pre-register. Check where registration or packet pick-up is the day before the event. Is it at the same spot on race day? For that matter where the heck is the start? Several key events in the Hayward area have changed venues in recent years with more than a few racers showing up to an empty parking lot on race morning! Alright – I’m gonna say it: Find out when the race is for heaven’s sake! Races sometimes switch weekends to a completely different part of the winter. A quick review of the event’s details may save an embarrassing moment in an empty parking lot!
Next are some ideas that you can implement the night before (or the day of) to make your race butterflies fly away!
Make sure your morning is easy as can be. Lay out your clothing complete with pinned on number and/or chip. Pack a bag with everything you’ll need before, during, and after the race including a change of clothes and shoes, snacks, and hydration. Also, get your breakfast as ready as possible—put the timer on the coffee maker, set out your food. You can also load the car with your equipment, etc. All this adds up to fewer things you’ll have to worry about in the morning and more time to relax and focus.
Review Your Race Day Plan
Make sure you know all the ins and outs of the race—where you need to be and how to get there. Factor in timing for parking, walking to the start, using the restroom, meeting your friends, etc. You’ll be less frazzled if your timing is set but flexible.
Firstly, make sure everything is charged up. Make the finishing touches to your playlist, if you’re using one. And, set a couple of alarms, just to be safe…then double check.
While staying calm is great at the end of the evening (see below) it might be hard to be chill all night long. Distracting yourself can have a great impact on your state of mind.
Anything that occupies your thoughts is great—Joel thinks ping pong is the perfect distraction, while Ian prefers music or, better yet, a live concert. Hanging out with friends, video games, a movie—they can all take your mind off the stressors of the next day.
Stop The Wax Panic
This is specific to ski racing. The key (one of them anyway) is having the right wax, but this can be a challenge if conditions are changing. Why not start using liquid wax? Just as durable as hot wax, liquid wax is easily applied and ready in no time, so you can wax right up to the last minute and not worry about fluctuating weather conditions or being late to the start line.
More suited to the cyclists, inspecting your bike and cleaning it as you go does three things: your bike will be perfectly tuned for the event, you will feel confident in your machine, and you’ve occupied your mind while you are wrenching.
Be Kind to Yourself
Whether it’s your first or 21st event, you are doing something really cool. You’ve also been working hard toward this goal. Why not treat yourself the night before your race? Pamper yourself with a relaxing bath or destress with a glass of wine or beer. Be nice to your body—you have come a long way.
Unwind and Visualize Success
At the end of the night, try turning off the devices. Meditate for 5 to 10 minutes (use an app to help you focus). Picturing the course/race can also help you feel more settled. Reading a book or magazine for a bit may also be more soothing than scrolling through your device or the channels on TV. As you fall asleep, concentrate on having a great race and finishing strong!
Hope this gives you a few new ideas so that you are calm and collected on race day.