Don't over think it

Tuesday, 11th August 2009

Since my foray into the ultra-running scene, I have been lucky enough to have experienced some awesome race locations and events. However, due to some of the locations, accommodation hasn't always been like the Hyatt Regency in Guam.

Prior to this in earlier race seasons, I was an absolute Nazi about the "precious two nights prior to race start" sleep. This effectively means that one needs to find a decent hotel / motel room, take some herbal remedy to remove all anxiety, plug ones ears with ear plugs and get into bed at 8pm trying to make it until the next morning with unbroken sleep.

This all changed when I ran the Marathon des Sables (MdS) last year. After bussing out to the race start in the Moroccan Sahara somewhere south of Ourzazate a day before the race, then camping in a two-sided open tent for the following 8 days, and still managing to back up each day with a 40km + run in the midday sun, I realised that the body is more resilient than we think. The mind is the problem.

Since the MdS I have camped in swags in single digit temperature figures, shared rooms in shoddy accommodation, arriving 10hrs before a race and started a race at 3:30am. Touch wood all performances the morning after have been as good and perhaps better than if I had have over thought the situation.

My tips are:
1) Keep it simple.
2) Treat the occasion as normal
3) Remove all stress surrounding anticipated performance - it will be, what it will be.
4) Focus on the race and not your situation
5) Most importantly, "DON'T OVER THINK IT"

Performance is dictated predominantly by mindset. Limit exposure to technicalities, remain positive, and things will fall into place.

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