Athletes train for days, weeks and months in preparation for key competitions. Athletes set goals months or seasons and years in advance. The training is arduous. Sometimes it’s even tedious. Some of us live for the training and have little competitive spirit to push every limit on competition day. This post is not for you. Others however live for the day to put it on the line.
Ultimately we can be supremely in shape. We can be strong, fit and “psyched” for the big competition. Let me pose to everyone however that regardless of:
- your training miles and paces
- regardless of your finely tuned and professionally prepared workout schedule that you followed to the letter
- regardless of time trial tests that lay the foundation
- regardless of being the fittest you’ve ever been on the big day…
The competition is the test. And like a test in a classroom, regardless of the amount of studying and how much you know; what counts is what happens on test day.
Before anyone thinks that I am advocating that the race results are all that counts – au contraire. Every athlete should fully enjoy the process – fully and completely. I am only addressing the issue of performance.
It is not always the fittest fastest strongest athlete who wins on that big day. It is not always who did all the right workouts. If that were the case, everyone who followed a training program could mail in their results and the race director would assign us places and times based on our training logs. We would never have to show up for the competition.
Race day is test day and graduation day all in one. It is time to put it on the line. Your focus has to be on taking all your physical and mental powers and putting them together on this day.
If you are one who does not perform up to expectations on race (test) day then it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing in preparation. When lesser prepared athletes win out, it is because they can put it together on race day whereas the better conditioned athlete let’s things devaluate their potential.
Sometimes the reason is physical (injured, aches, pains, cramps) often it is training related (poor taper, wrong workouts) and more often it is the result of a lack of mental preparation (focus, stress, anxiety, peer pressure).
Think of it this way, your physical preparation yields the total potential of how you CAN perform (it is 100%). Your mental preparation is what ALLOWS you to perform your best. The best analogy is you may have prepared your body to be a Ferrari but you’re driving with the brake on (lack of mental preparation). You cannot perform anywhere near 100% of your potential without mental preparation for race day. You will be the “A” student getting a “C” because you couldn’t perform on test day.
So, what are you doing to prepare for your test?
But here’s the great news. There is always another test. It is not do-or-die. If you don’t like the results of one test, you can go take another! So, here’s to laying it on the line and good test taking.