With the Opens less than two weeks away, and as I have been asked to write something on 'how do you stay relaxed for a competition', I thought I would tackle that issue today.
Staying calm and focused is your biggest ally at a competition. For one thing, you won't be able to carry out your wod plan if you're too stressed. Secondly, stressing uses a lot of energy and releases a lot of stress hormones. Which is great if it's seconds before the WOD (when you need to be stressed), but at any other time it's just eating into your recovery.
Let's break it up a little on a time line...
Week/Days out from the competition: I know people who literally stress themselves out of a competition days and even weeks before it starts. They can't stop thinking about it, talking about it, planning/strategising it, doing it! By the time they get close to the competition they're over it! The body has been through that WOD soooo many times, it just doesn't want to keep doing it.
My number one tip here is DON'T! Don't talk about it, don't think about it!
Try this - lie down and measure your HR, then think about your competition/WOD and redo your HR. I guarantee those stress hormones have pushed you into a training zone!
How do you stop thinking about it? My best strategy is when you do find yourself thinking of the competition, replace it with something else. Something that doesn't get your heart racing. For example, I think about a computer game I'm playing at the moment. Or you could think about your favourite movie, or bring back memories from your last holiday... The thing is, YOU NEED TO REPLACE IT. You can't just stop thinking about it, as it will (very quickly) creep back into your thoughts. The mind needs to be distracted!
When I used to take swimmers away for big meets, we would go to the movies, do day trips, play games etc - anything to distract them from their swims. And if you have someone who keeps mentioning the competition (as the parents of the swimmers always did!) let them know that you don't want to talk about it. Be nice, but be form!
The only exception here would be to allow yourself a specific time of the day to actually think about the comp. A good time is when you're training. Talk about it, plan it (don't keep doing it though), break it down - whatever you want. But when you walk out the gym you leave it all behind!
The Day of the Competition: You still don't want to be thinking or stressing about the competition or WOD. Some strategies here are:
Right before the WOD and during the WOD: If you've done all of the above you should know you're ready! At this stage all you're thinking about is your first rep. Elite, successful athletes get into the 'zone' - which just means they are in the 'now'. They aren't thinking about 5 mins ago (cause they didn't have time to pee), or two minutes ahead (can you even lift that frikking weight?). Your entire focus is on the next few seconds. And should always be. It's all about the best, most efficient, rep you can do!
If you do find yourself starting to get too excited/stressed then try these:
If you are the type to get too stressed out, then there is a lot you can do. It's just another skill to work on - like a muscle up. You need to work out what strategy is good for you, develop it, and rehearse it until it becomes part of your routine.
It's worth putting time and effort into. Like I said, staying focused and calm is your single best ally in a competition. Just watch those who are successful!
I don't feel pressure in a negative way. I like pressure.
I feel excitement and calm at the same time.
No pressure, no diamonds. I want pressure:
pressure creates drama, creates emotion.
Dion Walmsley, Head Coach at CrossFit Kanga, Richlands