5 Mistakes Athletes Make During Competition Week
You have been training for months, and you are feeling confident about how “in-shape” and competition-ready you are. You think to yourself, “Maybe I will hit a personal best?” or “Maybe I’ll finally beat the guy or gal that always nudges me off the podium?” Bottom line, your workouts have been ‘killah’ lately and you’re feeling good about this upcoming race or competition.
All that is left to do is travel and head to the event, which is easier in theory than it proves to be in reality. So, don’t blow it now! The Marc Pro team has some tips on how to avoid the 5 most common mistakes athletes make the week of competition so that you can be ahead of your game for the big day.
1. Changing Your Sleeping Schedule
With travel to competitions, especially with time changes, it can be difficult to feel like you are getting into the groove with sleep. It may seem like not logging in your normal sleep hours before competition is no big deal, but it can actually affect athletic performance. Make your sleeping environment as close to your normal sleep area as possible, with less noise or light. You can also use the Marc Pro to help relax your muscles before heading to bed.
2. Not Planning Nutrition During Travel
Getting the right foods while on the road is essential, but easily overlooked. You have worked tremendously hard to pinpoint your nutrition with each workout, so why forget about it right before a competition? Take the time to plan out your meals while on the road, and if need be, pack some of the foods that you like that may be hard to find. Staying on your normal eating schedule is key to ensuring that you are getting the right nutrients that your body needs. (Loading up on a lot of sugary protein bars or airport snacks is not!) Also, make sure to pack healthy, fresh snacks like fruit, nuts or jerky to propel you on long drives and plane rides.
3. Forgetting about Hydration
The week of a competition, a water bottle should be your best friend, and remain constantly filled up to allow you to stay hydrated. When traveling on planes, the pressure from the cabin yields fluid loss from both the skin and lungs. As a result, dehydration can occur, which can affect the way that an athlete feels and performs. Make sure to bring extra fluids with you during travel, and continue to stay well hydrated upon arrival at the competition area. If you need to flavor your water to get more of it down, try adding lemon slices or an electrolyte drink.
4. Letting Nerves Get the Best of You
Before a competition, pressure can start to build and anxiety can actually inhibit performance. Research has found that “practice” situations typically yield better results than “high stakes competition scenarios” because an athlete stresses less and decreases the personal pressure. So how can you decrease the nerves? Minimize the “need to win” and try distracting yourself by staying occupied. Placing less pressure on yourself can result in better performances.
5. Not Remembering to Have Fun
You have worked hard, you want the best results, and are looking to attain a personal best. However, do not forget why you started competing in the first place—because it is fun! Embracing the fun can allow you to perform at your best and enjoy the experience from start to end. And as for those butterflies in your tummy? They are completely natural and they mean that you’re ready so let the butterflies fly when the buzzer or start gun goes off.
Do you have any tips on how to stay relaxed and focused during competition week? Tweet your best tips to @theMarcPro!