Posted by: Joe Nuss on Nov 20, 2009
By Dr. Angelina Stevens
This is what my mom used to always tell me as I would put off writing my 12-page term papers in high school. As I sat down last week to write this article with the worst case of writer’s block, I realized my frustration would soon work out to be my inspiration for this month’s article. A few weeks ago, I got to be a cheerleader in the New York City Marathon for two best friends, now blood brothers, in the biggest battle of their lives. As tough as the race was for the two of them battling muscle seizures and cramps, the biggest challenge was getting to the starting line, feeling rested and confident for what was to come.
It is true that training for endurance sports is important, but more so is the mental preparation and our personal expectations for ourselves. Inspired by the whole New York experience and my own with the prerace nerves and stressful travel, I have put together a formula for a positive race-day experience.
1. Rest up ahead of time. I barely sleep the night before a big race. Guess what: neither does most of the athletic world. Whether it is from traveling or excitement, it is more important how you have slept the two or three days before race day. Focus on rest during the week and keep yourself horizontal for seven or eight hours the day before the race.
2. Keep it simple and consistent. As much as you want to strap on those shoes you have never run in before and try the double-caffeinated gel that your friend just recommended, resist the urge and stick with what your body knows. Establish a prerace meal that is simple and easily digestible, and race the way you have practiced.
3. Visualize and think about your success. The Law of Attraction says what you think about, you bring about. So if you think you will have the best race of your life, you will. If you think you will have a mishap—guess what, you will! While you are horizontal the night before a race, use your sleepless hours to visualize your perfect race. Think of five things you are grateful for every night before going to sleep and enter a positive vibration for sleep and relaxation.
4. Whatever you do, leave it ALL out there. The most inspiring part of watching the two blood brothers conquer the marathon had nothing to do with the time they ran, but that they left nothing to be regretted. All of their sweat, blood, ego, and pride is still strewn all over New York City. Even in the face of disappointment or success, if you have given it all you have, you will walk away with a sense of inner peace and accomplishment.
I am convinced it takes way more energy being negative and worrying about what could happen than getting started and giving it your all. Use this energy being grateful and kind to yourself and watch your successes multiply in all areas of your life.
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Dr. Angelina V. Stevens, D.C., owns holistic chiropractic and acupuncture centers in Durham and Chapel Hill. She is passionate about healing the body naturally without the use of drugs or surgery and by finding the true causes of pain and illness. As a triathlete, Dr. Angelina has completed in world-class events and has represented the U.S. as a triathlete on Team USA 2001. She currently competes as an elite cyclo-cross racer and can be reached at www.stevenswellness.com.