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How to Reduce Stress on Race Day
By Morgane Echardour
Morgane Echardour focuses before a race at the World Championships.
I have a Cartesian personality, which makes me strive for certainty in all things. On race day, I like to be prepared down to the smallest detail. Even little things can throw me off. For instance, if I forget my sunglasses, I find it hard to focus.
Given my fastidiousness, I’ve developed some strategies for lowering stress on race day. Of course, things don’t always go as planned. But by following these tips, I’m more likely to be ready to roll when it’s time to go.
1) Arrive early.
Sometimes there’s no choice. You have to drive all night to get to a race or you have to camp out or sleep in your car. But if possible, try to arrive the day before you race. Check into a hotel, which you’ve booked in advance, and get a good night’s sleep. You’ll feel much better in the morning.
2) Know where you’re going.
I've been on many — many! — trips in which my travel companions and I got lost on the morning of the race. This is always stressful. The more lost I am, the more I feel my comfort zone shink, along with my warm-up time.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, study your map before you hit the road. And don’t put your faith in a GPS. They can give faulty directions, lose their signal or run our of juice. (Check your batteries.)
3) Have your equipment ready to go.
Do an equipment check on the day before you race. Make sure you’ve packed your race bearings and wheels. I always bring along my rain wheels and bearings, even if the forecast is for dry weather. I pack my wheels and bearings, along with my skinsuit, in my skate bag, which I never let out of sight. I also bring some extra safety pins to use to attach my racing bibs in case the organizers run out.
Whatever you do, don't check your skate bag with your luggage at the airport. Luggage sometimes gets lost, and racing without your skates is going to be difficult.
4) Pre-register & pick up your race kit.
The minutes leading up to a race are key to controlling stress. There are lots of things you can do — for one, pre-register. Not only will it save you money, but it will be one less thing you have to worry about on the day of the race.
Even if you do pre-register, arrive at the race early so you have ample time to pick up your race kit. Once you have it, put your bibs on right away. This can head off any last minute panic. And put your chip on as well, so you don’t start without it.
5) Pre-race: warm up & focus.
Give yourself enough time to do a full warm-up, whatever that means for you.
A warm-up not only prepares your body but tends to reduce stress. I like doing a 10-minute run followed by 10 to 15 minutes of dynamic stretches and finally a short warm-up on skates.
As part of my warm up, I like to listen to some pump-up...
Six Secrets for Racing Success
By Miguel Jose
On the starting line of the Texas Road Rash
Want to have your best racing season ever? Follow these six secrets to success:
1) Set goals
In order to get somewhere, you've got to know where you want to go. So set goals for yourself. Goals keep you motivated and give you a way to measure your success.
Goals can take various forms: a time you want to beat, a placement you hope to attain, or simply a feeling of accomplishment.
Set long-term goals first. Then work backwards.
Let's say your goal for the season — your long-term goal — is to finish the NorthShore Inline Marathon in under an hour and a half. In that case, set a short-term goal of 1:50 in your first marathon of the season. Then set a mid-term goal of finishing your second marathon in 1:40.
Don't be surprised if you reach your goals sooner than expected. That often happens. When it does, readjust your goals.
But don't be unrealistic. Make sure your goals are within the realm of possibility. Otherwise, you'll be setting yourself up for failure. Realistic goals are inspiring. Unrealistic goals are discouraging — and could cause you to give up.
The one thing you can control in this world are your thoughts. So don't fill your head with negative thinking. Instead, pump yourself up with positive thoughts. You are 100 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you believe in yourself.
Visualize your intended outcome. Not just once, but every single day. In this way, you will actually feel the emotions of the outcome you desire. And don't stop there — also imagine the reactions of your family and friends.
4) Have a plan
Don't leave success to chance. Plan out your race. Long before your event, decide what you will do at every point in your race. And also plan for unforeseen circumstances, like a fall or getting dropped by the peloton. Once your race starts, do your be...
The Mental Game
By Erin Jackson
The CIC's Roberto Marotta awards the gold medal to Erin Jackson at the 2009 World Championships in Haining, China.
We've all been there: the last 1000 meters of a race — legs throbbing, feet aching, sweat dripping, thoughts racing.
Your body is screaming for you to stop. But you've got to keep going.
That's when your mental training kicks in ... when the strategies and mental attitude you develop before your race push you over the finish line.
Here are some tips to remember:
Keep your head up, both figuratively and literally. Encourage yourself to keep going; convince yourself that you don't feel the pain. Practice this when you train and positive thoughts will come more readily when you race.
And don't let your head droop no matter how tired you feel. For me, this is vital. Once my head drops, a signal shoots through my body telling me I can't go on. If you feel the urge to lower your head, force youself to keep your eyes focused forward and drive to the line.
Focus on technique. Typically when a skater becomes tired, his or her technique takes a turn for the worst. This is why it is important to fine-tune your technique ... and not just at the beginning of a workout. Pay extra attention to your technique after muscle fatigue has set in.
To check yourself, ask a coach or friend to watch you at the end of a workout. Is your technique getting sloppy? Train yourself to finish workouts w...