Why Stress? Race Day Mantra

Your Ironman race is around the corner. Other athletes are starting to talk about the ugliness that awaits you. Every online blog article emphasizes the Hell you’re going to experience on Ironman race day. Wind, heat, hills, cramping, stomach issues, special needs bags, race morning routines, and on and on and on. All of this “noise” causing major stress on you and your race day mindset. But wait! We’re still 2 weeks out from the race and we’re already losing sleep over the unknowns race day will provide us. Is this stress really necessary?
The answer is no.
You have done the work. You have listened to your coach. You have properly built your mind and body into a high functioning machine. You have worked all of the proper energy systems. You have practiced nutrition daily, both in and out of training. You have committed yourself to being the best athlete you can be. You went to sleep early and woke up early in order to make the training happen. You have skipped social events for the sake of rest and recovery. You ate right, limited alcohol, and hit the gym when others were out partaking in fun and festivities.
So why are you letting yourself get caught up in the nonsense and stress that others try to unload on you in order to make themselves feel better? They didn’t do what you did. Why should you associate your feelings with theirs?
Think back to all you have committed to this race and to being the best you can be. No one can compare their poor habits and failure to consistently get the work done with your commitment to success. Walk around with your chest out and your head held high with the confidence that you WILL perform YOUR best on race day, because, after all, it only comes down to two things after your positive, confident mindset: Pacing and Nutrition.
You know your abilities. You know your power zones, your heart rates, your paces. You have trained in these zones day in and day out for months on end. Race day will be no different. All you will do is perform within your abilities based on your numbers. When things go awry on race day, many times it’s because the athlete thinks there will be some type of race day magic that will allow their abilities to succeed beyond what that athlete is truly capable of.
I will tell you, this will NEVER allow you to have a successful day on your race day. There is no race day magic and there never will be. Stick to efforts within your ability on the swim, bike, and run and you will have a great day mentally and physically. Do not let yourself be influenced by everyone else on the course. Don’t get caught up in what anyone else is doing. Stay focused on your effort and your ability and your day will be a success.
In order to train day in and day out at the levels of intensity you have, you must have fueled yourself correctly. If you had not, your training would have sputtered out long before race day. Race day will not be any different in your fueling than your day in and day out training. Treat your fueling as you have every training session prior to this.
Just because it’s race day does not mean you have to go try drastic measures to enhance your performance. This only leads to distress, for the body is not accustomed to a different way of fueling. Frequent, preemptive, quick-burning calories and hydration is all you need to remember. Keep it exactly as you have in your training sessions. Just because there is a special needs bag doesn’t mean you have to put a turkey sandwich in the bag, unless you have trained with a turkey sandwich as fuel for the days, weeks, and months prior to race day. Keep it with what you know, and execute.
That’s it. Why stress? Yes the unknown awaits, but does it really? You know what you can do. Now go do it. Execute within your abilities, fuel as you know how to fuel, stay positive, and smile. Easy!

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