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Start Line Sabotage

81973033...Athletes swim in the Ming tomb reservoir at the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics women's Triathlon competition in Beijing on August 19, 2008. German Jan Frodeno won the gold, Simon Whitefield of Canada the silver and Bevan Docherty of New Zealand the bronze.   AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week I did a video on the ‘start line sabotage’ over on our Facebook Page; if you missed it, this was what we covered:

Have you ever stopped to think how you may be spoiling your race before you’ve even begun it? We’d like to introduce you to our concept of the start line sabotage. This is quite literally what it says on the tin! t’s thinking you can’t do it, or you’re going to come last or you’re dreading it, or you don’t want to do it; it’s all those thoughts that actually you don’t want as they’ll hold you back!

How many of you can relate to that? I know I certainly can? In my years of racing I can distinctly recall being on the start line listening to limiting beliefs and thoughts. An example I can recall is literally “I can’t do this!” Being in the water of my first couple of triathlons, waiting like a coiled spring ready for the hooter to go and having that knot in my stomach of “I can’t do this”, “I don’t want to do this”, “this is going to be awful”, “they are all going to swim over me”, “I’m going to drown”; and then feeling so stressed when the hooter went off that I’d sprint off totally stressed for the first 20 seconds and then spend the rest of the race trying to recover. The start line sabotage had set the tone for the rest of my race to follow!

So actually, when you’re on a start line it’s vital that you’re full of positivity. Think of it as a bucket; the higher your positivity bucket, the more resilient you’ll be and the better you’ll be able to cope with challenge on the day. Rather than saying “I can’t do this” tell yourself “I know I can do this.” The mind is a really powerful tool and by tapping into it you’ll improve your athletic performance and enjoyment on the day.

My new mantra, the one that I take to every start line is now:

“This is why I’m here”

So when I feel nervous, or tired or the course gets hard or I can’t catch the person in front, or I fall over I tell myself “this is why I’m here”. And when I laugh with friends afterwards, and have a cuppa and cake at the finish, and collect my finishers medal I tell myself “this is why I’m here”. And disappointment or worry or anxiety never really feature because I’m so busy enjoying all the aspects of the day – all the reasons why I’m here.

Now that really is setting the tone for your race!

So have a think about what your new start line mantra is going to be, and avoid sabotaging your performance before it’s even begun. Good luck!

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