I come to all kinds of events jittery, whether it be (high school and college) debate tournaments in the past or my recent addiction- multi-sport events, but always going home inspired, energized and ready for the next challenge.
Everything I do felt as if it’s the first time. This prolly is due to my lack of self-confidence and my constant need for reassurance, which I am combating though series of self-talks (fudge- complemented by overthinking!), pep talks from my coach, over-training, oversleeping and… panic eating! Ooops.
JITTER ~ noun jit·ter \ˈji-tər\ – a sense of panic or extreme nervousness <had a bad case of the jitters before his performance>
synonyms: anxiety, fidgets, tense, heebie-jeebies, pagpapapampam, pagiinarte
Taking my game into the next level, I know I shouldn’t let this whole tense-thing eat me alive. After all, I’m technically not “new” anymore having done 2 Aquathlon events. We all get nervous, but the skill of translating anxiousness to motivation and positive energy is also part of our training. What experts say is true- apart from physical training, mental fortitude (See: Mental Toughness) should also be sharpened.
More often than not, it is not the strong/smart/most-equipped (resources/gears-wise) who tops high-pressured games, but those with grit– the ones who can endure pain & block negativity on the spot, who sees long-term goals over just winning a particular event- that made all the difference.
For athletes, how do we say one is mentally tough? Few notes based on my experience & seeing my idols’ attitude (hehe):
- They show up on training. More than showing up, they ensure quality set deliveries.
- Ever seen a teammate who shows up the earliest on training day, but also is the same person who will leave the pool or the run/bike course last?
- Ever encountered that teammate who is not quite content with several drills & time trials and still asks for more even if all other teammates are already in the shower or preparing to leave?
- Ever had that teammate who never loses motivation even when training alone?
- Even if they don’t show up, they never missed assignments.
- They lift teammates up.
- They share tips and power strategies they’ve read/seen/heard.
- They let teammates borrow equipment & share food/drinks (THANKS, #TeamGuttom! :*)
- Pep talks & sched sharing is never ending! Waking up with 100+ messages in your team’s chat box isn’t crazy & foreign anymore.
- They make it a habit to get to know people in their circle (and invite them over training with them too).
- They accept defeat & say “there will always be a next time”.
- Huhuhu, iyak mga 10 seconds then move on. Hanap next jowa. Charot. Hanap next event to beat PR or….finally place in a podium! #Hopia
- They never forget to say “Thank you” every after training sessions/races to the coach/es, teammates, family and friends who supported.
- Even if that’s a long FB/IG post, pagbigyan! #ProudMomentHere #AngGalingKoPoShet #LookMomIdidntDie
Tips on getting over pre-race/pre-everything jitters:
- Visualize the race day.
- No matter how much training & preparation you’ve dedicated prior to this, it will never follow through if you cannot/ did not imagine what will happen on the big day.
- Hope for the best conditions, but always prepare for the worse. We cannot control the nature (the weather, the currents for open water swimming, accidents we might encounter on the bike and run course, athlete’s trots, injuries, etc). We cannot control competition. We can only control ourselves, especially the inner workings of our minds! Say it with me, “No matter what happens during the race, I will give it everything I’ve got!” #LordThisisForYourGreaterGlory #ForMyFans, ganern.
- Relax. Find an outlet to release tension.
- For me, one is through writing. The other, eating. Mehehe.
- Trust in your training.
- Kudos for working your ass off! As they say, talents don’t work alone. It should be complemented with hard work (and of course, humility.)
- Your body is so conditioned for this! Unless OA ka mag-carbo load. Running a marathon/ultra, teh? Full Ironman na, teh? Should only carbo-load if the intense activity will happen 2hrs above. (See:Carbo-loading tips)
- Your time trials during practice is not your final time. Always remember-adrenaline, presence of supporters and event photographers will surely deduct several minutes off your time!
- Keep in mind: The end goal is to ENJOY!
- Even if enjoyment means, “Take your Garmin off!” hihihihi yehesss! I’m finally free from the beeps and seconds-to-beat!
We shall best not only our PRs but our whole racing experience. If before, our only goal was to finish, now an added goal is “for our idols to become our friends!” So, socialize too after the event! I appreciate the multi-sport community as they are more intimate and there’s a less-competitive vibe among peers.
Wag na tayo kabahan, ha? We shall Carpe-the-diem in this feat and make ourselves proud!
See you in SBR Aquaman 2016 on Sunday @ Ultra (Philsports Arena).
Sore today but strong tomorrow,