I read this this morning and it struck a real cord, so much so that I wanted to share it with you...enjoy.
Racing is a process, the outcome of which simply measures how successful you have been moment by moment throughout the event as well as your training and preparation. Success in the now is a factor of the joy you experience in the execution of the plan, the quality demonstrated in your technique and skill level. When you acknowledge that winning is beyond your control, you can begin to fully experience the emotional rush of competition; well trained athletes seeking greatness together. Seeing the race as a journey, you feel the freedom to run in the flow, a state of relaxed intensity. Focus on the things you can control.
To stay in the moment, focus on cadence, form, pace and stride. Remember there is no victory other than the joy you experience when “dancing” in the terrain. The real treasure is now. You have trained for many hours, so your body knows what to do. You just need to let your mind be in harmony with your knowledgeable body and not stand in its way by being hypercritical and obsessed with winning. A fixed rigid mind creates a fixed rigid body. When you trust your body and resist the obsession with outcomes, you create a free flowing mind and free flowing body in a mutually satisfying partnership f body mind and spirit. When a well-trained racehorse enters the starting gate it does not look around and analyze the competition. It simply waits just for the gate to open, and at the bell it lets its body do its thing – run the race. The stallion loves the process and never once thinks about the finish. Like the racehorse, show up and turn your mind over to your body and you'll enjoy the process.
Hold on to the notion of real confidence. Many runners say that they have lost confidence in winning; how can you have confidence in doing something that you can’t control such as winning? Once you realize the futility of striving for the impossible, you can discover the confidence you can experience, not in an outcome, but in the decisions you make during the race or run. Know that you may or may not win, but you can have the confidence in running like a winner – which paradoxically, gives you more control over the outcome. Have confidence in your ability to run and race as you do in training in the absence of performance anxiety, where there is nothing at stake.
Get the Job Done:
Just do it; race without care. As a competitive group, runners are too concerned about doing it right. We need to enter one race and not give a damn; when we do, we will be better able to relax and run. Sometimes it’s more fun to show up and say “to hell with it”, “it” being the outcome. Having acknowledged that, proceed to to race with effortless effort, an attitude of asserting your level of fitness (showing what you’ve got) without the conscious attempt to do well.
Visualize Your Race:
It’s important to know in your mental race preparation it’s healthy to visualize wining (against the clock, the competition or for a certain place in the finish), but not to the exclusion of seeing the process unfold as it should. However, when you actually show up at the event, do so to simply run your best for that day. Remember that wanting to win and needing to win are very different attitudes to wards racing. The former is healthy; the latter destructive.