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Our Top 3 Mindset Strategies to Achieve Your Best Performances

Some of the athletes we work with are exceptional performers in training environments but when it comes to race day, unhelpful mental habits take over, and their performances suffer.

Does this sound like you?

Do your nerves get in the way of your legs powering to personal bests? or

Have you got the ‘angel on one shoulder, and devil on the other’ syndrome where one positive thought is counteracted by a negative thought which ultimately leaves you doubting your abilities?

We want to offer you our top 3 mental strategies to help overcome barriers to achieving your best!

Process vs Outcome

One of the biggest mistakes that athletes make as they enter race events is putting too much focus on the outcome and forgetting the process.

When we become too outcome focused, we forget all the crucial steps that make up the process to achieve the desired outcome.

Example of this might include getting on the start line for the time trial being so hell-bent on achieving your PB time that you forgot to warm up correctly and implement all the pre-race mental strategies that have been learnt.

Or, starting the race and during the race only thinking about the time you want to achieve instead of focusing on your technique and form - completely essential to achieving your desired race outcome.

It’s a bit like climbing the staircase, you can’t jump 10 stairs to reach the top, in order to reach the top you have to take one stair at a time and this is definitely the case on race day .

Here’s our tips:

  • Take one step at a time, break your day up into sections and focus on getting each of those sections right. If you achieve the outcome at the end of it, you will be because you did everything right in the lead up to and during your event.
  • By allowing yourself to focus on each process step-by-step, you'll be limiting your minds ability to drift beyond each task at hand, allowing you to maximise each of the processes and achieve the desired outcome. 

Warm Up Repeatability

Every time you arrive for a training session it's likely (and we're hoping that) you'll complete a set warm up plan. 

This warm up might be the same each day, or vary slightly based on the differentiation in events that your training for. 

Whatever your warm up looks like, it's important that it's structured in a way that it can be implemented on race day which will take out a lof of the 'guess-work' when it comes time to get on the start line. 

The athletes that we look after in our Inner Circle program all have a set and structured warm up routine which can be adapted and tailored to each individual and implemented both in training environments and on race day. 

Their warm up plans take into account the timing required to complete each warm up activity which is counted backwards from the start time of their session or effort. 

The feedback that we've received around the structured and repeatable warm up plan is that it alleviates stress, anxiety and uncertainty on race day, allowing the athlete to relax and follow the processes to achieve the outcome!   

Here’s our tips:

  • Write yourself a warm up plan that takes into account all situations and environments (e.g. roller warm ups, track warm ups and event specific modifications).
  • Practice this warm up at least 1 - 2 x per week well in advance of race events to ensure that you are familiar with the timings and accustomed to the exercises/routines that are within the warm up (and more improtantly - that they are working for you!)


Owner & Occupier Analogy

When you buy, or even rent a home to live in - you become the owner / occupier and generally, whilst you're living in your home - you focus on what's important to maintain the home in good working order. You don't worry about what's happening next door! 

The same principle applies when your riding - you're the owner of your bike and the machine that makes your bike move and therefore you shouldn't be worried about your opponent! 

By worrying about your opponent, you limit your own ability to maximise your performances - we've seen it too many times before! 

Our Olympic mindset coach Georgia Ridler has a brilliant series of videos on how to focus on your own performances and not compare them to others - you can CLICK HERE to access them! 

Here's our tips:

  • Sit away from your opponents when you're at race events - don't allow yourself to become distracted by them! 
  • Some athletes do a lot of 'nervous talking' and if you come across one of them, you'll know about it as they'll be chatting to you prior to racing you which can ultimately result in you arriving on the line with underprepared and distracted. Purchase a large set of headphones and wear them - even if you don't like music, just wearing them tends to act as a sign that you're focused and 'unapproachable'. 
  • Write down all of your strengths on a piece of paper and factor them into your race plans on race day! At the end of the day you can only maximise your own strengths - so plan to do so (and not worry about the strengths or weaknesses of others).

Have you got any mental strategies that you like to use to prepare yourself to perform? 

Let us know what they are in the comments box below, we'd love to hear from you!