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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why You Need a Race Day Mantra

"There is not time to think about how much I hurt; there is only time to run."- Ben Logsden

I have a triathlon on Sunday in Pewaukee Wisconsin.  The race is the end of a 10 week training program for new Triathletes.  Even though I am not a brand new triathlete, I felt I had a lot to learn and the coach Scott Stauske was nice enough to let me take the class.  Despite having done a few triathlons I felt like a newbie.

I had to drop out last year of the beginner class last year, so it has been great to train with a group and I am looking forward to the race on Sunday. One of the things our coach Scott told us was that we all needed a race day Mantra and we should post it on our Tri Newbie Facebook site.

The Mantra is really a good idea and it can improve performance.  All last year I struggled with the swim leg of the triathlon.  I bailed out of a swim in a triathlon in June.  About a month later I went to a corporate coaching seminar in Chicago. It was to help managers coach employee's in the workplace, but I found an unexpected gem to help me in the swim.

The founder of the company, Alan  Fine started his career as a tennis coach. He told the story about tennis student he had. The young girl was struggling with the basics of hitting the ball. He told her to say two words ( her mantra).   To help her hit consistently he told her to say in her mind, bounce when the ball hit the court and racket when she hit the ball.

With these two words she went from having trouble hitting at all to near perfect performance.
I think this works because sometimes we are the biggest obstacle to our own success. We run tapes in our heads full of fear and doubts. They distract us from being successful and keeps our races from being fun.

I also knew the mind can only handle one thought at a time, so a good phrase or mantra would focus my mind.

I came up with a two word mantra for my swim. Face....meaning my face needed to be in the water and breath when I turned to breath. This helped focus me and keep my body position level so I did not feel like I was drowning. So all through the swim course, I use my two word mantra. When I start having any other thought I focus on face and breath. It has worked, I have not struggled in the swim since.  I am not a fast swimmer, but I went from doing the side and back stroke, to getting in the crowd if needed.

So I do use a few other mantras during my triathlon, during transition I think, quick and I say it over and over. Just to stay focused and remind myself to stay focused but not get flustered.

On the bike, I think push down and pull up, because that is how my pedal stroke should be.
 During the run, I just think, one step at at time or one foot in front of the other. I have to concentrate on my feet because my feet catch often.

So there is not time to worry about the hills or how much I hurt, my mantras remind me of the right technique I should use and keep me focused. It really was a break through for me.

They seem like kind of silly phrases, but they have meaning for me. The thing about using a mantra is you have to make it your own. It can be something fun to help you smile and break the stress or it can be about something you need to work on like it was for me.

So give it some thought, the right mantra can make your race more fun and improve your performance. For me it is all about having fun.

Ok Newbie group I hope this counts as posting my mantras.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 123 members in 27 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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