You know what they say about sleep before a big race? It’s not the night before that matters. (For surely that sleep will be fitful and interrupted and stunted by nerves just tingling at the surface waiting to mar your precious rest.) They say it’s the night before, the night before the big race that matters. You still have a little buffer before the big event and sweet sweet sleep bestows her graces upon you one more time before releasing you to pre-race jitters. A few nights ago I experienced the uncomfortable uneasy feeling that I usually only get the night before a big race. The problem? I was more than two weeks away from race day. (TWO weeks!). Why so antsy you say? Instead of giving into the rest and recovery that lie ahead, I was focusing on “what if”s. What if Leanda Cave, Mirinda Carfrae, Kelly Wlliamson, Jodie Swallow, and Caitlin Snow all show up at San Juan 70.3 (as they are scheduled to)? What if I have a bad swim? What if I get lost on the bike course? What if? What if? What if? I was so worried about how I was going to perform, I could not fall asleep.
I recently read a great article by QT2 Systems head coach, Jesse Kropelnicki. In it he describes where athletes typically put their focus and where athletes should put their focus. According to Jesse in the focus hierarchy, goals should come first, targets second, and outcomes should come third (and last). Oftentimes we reverse the order of things and become obsessed with the outcome or end result without mastering the first two items on the list. The problem with that? Outcomes can be largely out of our control, especially if you haven’t worked on achieving your goals (like learning how to pace or developing mental toughness) or worked on hitting your targets (like achieving a certain swim or run pace). If you work on your goals and targets first your desired outcome is more likely to fall into place. Obsessing over how we are going to place or if we are going to podium is just wasting energy that could be channelled elsewhere. If you focus on the process, not the end result, everything changes. EVERYTHING. I am so happy that I was reminded of this going into the 2013 season. Bring on the journey!