26 Sep Get Your Head Straight For Race Day
As anyone that’s attempted to navigate their 250+ lbs bike on an uphill, 180 degree turn while at the end of their 2nd moto can attest to – Motocross is extremely physical sport. Like any physical sport, it requires the rider to be in extraordinary good shape – and while a good bike might buy you a half second advantage in the straight-away – the very best racers understand that the difference between a win and a loss really come down to the mental aspect of the sport.
So today, with our minds in mind, I wanted to pontificate about the importance of getting yourself mentally prepared prior to race day. Here’s how I prep my brain prior to the gate dropping on race day…
As in life, you usually get that which you focus on. I have consistently found that if I worry about things going wrong, things tend to go wrong. Your mind is a powerful instrument, so replace worry with positive thoughts. Think – actually envision as realistically as possible – about yourself holding the winners cup high in your hand. Envision each successful turn on the track, envision passing other riders on the inside track, think how good you feel when you cross the finish line before everyone else.
Also called visualization, it’s a scientifically-proven mental tool that, if done consistently, can mimic the benefits that you might get from actual practice.
I like to find a quiet place 15 minutes every day and just go through the perfect run. The key, I’ve found, is getting very detailed in what I think about and committing to the exercise.
Stop Comparing Yourself
Knowing your competition is a good thing. Obsessing about the riders, their bikes, teams, and gear – not so much. The difference between the two can be summed up by the rider that is consistently looking back during the race and misses the rut on the track, and the rider that keeps their steal-like gaze forward and throttle gunned through the finish line.
Wasting your valuable time worrying about other riders drains valuable energy and focus. Racers should be doing this because they love the sport – so put everything you got into doing what you love.
Jocking The Competition
Now, I’m all for staying buds with the racer on the circuit, but keep in mind: we’re all pursuing the same prize money – and although most motor-crossers are awesome dudes and dudettes – they are your competition and your goal is to beat them at race time, so stay focused on YOU not THEM.
I may come off sounding like a complete asshole, but here goes: there’s a time and place for making friends, and the week before race time is not one of them.
Your brain need good nutrition to function properly. I like to carb up during race day for the energy you’ll need during the race, but prior to that I follow a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet with plenty of greens. It helps to keep my brain sharp on the track.
I’m been doing it for so long that I can really tell the difference if I short cut this regimen with shit foods with tons of sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good candy bar once in a while, but I try to limit, or eliminate the sugar and empty carbs during race week.
Get Some Rest
I don’t do much the days leading up to race day. The reason? I don’t want to be mentally or physically fatigued when the gate is dropped. Studies have shown repeatedly that proper sleep helps muscles, and brain tissue repair and recover. Back in the day, I would try to cram in as much runs as I could prior to the race, but I had found that it did little to improve my times.
Instead I now take the extra minutes to increase my visualization time (see above) and I make sure to get enough sleep.
Trust Your Team
As a paid motorcross athlete, all eyes are on me to win. But behind the scene, doing most of the hard work, I’ve got a solid crew of trainer, nutritionists, mechanics, and family which give me a solid support system to rely on. While I’m the guy with the helmet and goggles, I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything if I didn’t have them.
Over the years I have learned to trust their decisions without question. It took a while to get there admittedly, but this change has allowed me to concentrate my energy more on what I can control.
Thanks for reading and stay good!