April 2, 2010, Newsletter Issue #127: How to Relax and Focus before a Track Meet

Tip of the Week

There are nearly as many methods for pre-race relaxation and focus as there are racers. Nearly everyone develops their own rituals over time everything from yoga to giving themselves a pep talk. Here are three ideas you may find helpful:

Breathe deeply: Kneel with your buttocks resting on your heels, your back held straight, and your arms relaxed at your sides. As you inhale as slowly as you can through your nose, bring your arms up in a wide arc, until your hands touch above your head just as your lungs are full. Now lower your arms slowly as you exhale through your mouth as slowly as possible. Your arms should be down at your sides just as you expel the last of your breath. Repeat three to five times.

Meditate: Sit in the lotus position, or with one leg crossed over the other, and keep your spine straight. Close your eyes and bring your fingertips together gently in front of the center of your chest. Focus on the gentle pressure of your fingertips touching one another. Just be aware of it. Sit quietly for 3 5 minutes.

Stretch gently: Do some very easy stretches. Don't extend yourself to the point where you feel any great tightness in a given muscle.

Ask more experienced competitors about how they mentally prepare for a race. Experiment, and adopt the techniques that work best for you.

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