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The greatest antidote of fear is preparation

Holy smokes it’s already Tuesday...Coach Tip Tuesday!!

Continuing my theme of “It’s Race Season Again, Central New York,” I’d like to talk about this: the greatest antidote of fear is preparation.

Are you one of the many, many athletes who feels nauseous, or even gets physically sick, before a race?? Why do you feel this way?? Most of you likely feel this way because you’re nervous or scared about what is to come. This feeling might not be isolated to your race day; it could be how you feel before going on an outdoor ride, or when you complete a workout by yourself. What drives this feeling in you?? For 9 out of 10 of you, it’s this: uncertainty.

Uncertainty is the number one enemy of athletes on race day, or really, any day. My coach Mark Turner says this often, and I say it all the time to all of the athletes who I coach. Uncertainty breeds fear, and fear can be quite debilitating. How do we overcome this?? With preparation.

Are you scared of getting a flat on race day?? Learn how to change a tire, and then practice it so you gain proficiency at it. Schedule it into your week like you would a workout. Just ask Tiffany Barrett: I literally wrote this into her schedule last summer and since it was on her schedule, she felt compelled to complete it. Guess what?? She became the champion of changing tired and she wasn’t scared of it happening during her goal race after that.

Did you crash your bike, and are you scared that you’re going to do it again?? I can say with 100% certainty (I have a lot of first-hand experience with this ;) ) that you will not overcome this by staying off of your bike. Getting back on it is the best way to rebuild your confidence and show yourself that crashes are the exception, not the rule, in cycling.

Are you afraid that you’re going to bonk while running?? Practice pacing, nutrition, and hydration strategies that you think will work well for you, and make a note in your training log of what works and what doesn’t. It is MUCH better to bonk in a workout than it is to bonk in a race. Don’t be afraid of bonking in training; if it happens, it’s a great opportunity for you to learn more about yourself as an athlete (thereby increasing the all-important self-awareness that we preach so much at Team MPI).

Are you scared that you won’t be ready to meet your goal?? Follow your training plan, or if you don’t have one, seek out and hire a coach who can help you develop one. Putting in the work is by far the best way to set yourself up for success for any goal that you set for yourself - in endurance sports or in life.

These are just a tiny sliver of examples of what might cause you to feel nervous or scared as an athlete. Whatever it is that scares you: face it head-on. Prepare yourself for it. Once you feel that you are prepared for what scares you, you won’t be scared of it anymore. The greatest antidote of fear is preparation. Give yourselves a healthy dose of preparation, and you’ll be amazed at what follows. :)


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