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Dealing with Pre-Race Nerves


By Columnist Genevieve Whitson – Professional Cyclist 



Photo CreditAuðunn Níelsson, 2006 – Cycling – 

Feeling nervous before a race is absolutely normal and actually healthy and should not be feared. The body needs a certain amount of adrenaline to get it going and turning up to the start line with no butterflies in the stomach will probably make you a bit lethargic in the race.

However, the issue that many cyclists/athletes face is too many overconsuming nerves and not being able to relax in order to get on with the job at hand – having fun and placing well. There are lots of things you can do to deal with ‘pre-race nerves’ to ensure you can keep your cool (but not too cool) on your race.

There are lots of things you can do to deal with ‘pre-race nerves’ to ensure you can keep your cool (but not too cool) on your race.

No 1: Get yourself organised before the race – a lot of worry about how you are going to get on in a race can be minimised by just getting a bit more organised for the day. If you are worried about getting ‘dropped’ on the course, go do a pre-ride and get to know the course well. Ride it with someone experienced whose advice you trust. Find out where the best wind shelter is, the best and safest lines.

No 2: Get your bike serviced and clean it – knowing your bike is in running order on race day will settle a lot of mechanical worries. And did you know you can usually get around an extra 10 watts by just giving your chain a good clean?

No 3: Have a good breakfast before you head off – It’s easier to stay calm and feel focused with a full stomach. Ensure you eat properly on race morning and have some gels for the race so you don’t  blow up.

No 4: Take 3 deep breaths on the start line and remind yourself that you have done all you can up to this point – now you just have to ride and let the race unfold No 5: If you struggle.

No 5: If you struggle sleeping the night before racing try a 10 minute guided meditation – There are loads available on Youtube, or do some light yoga to help keep the worry niggles at bay.

No 6: Treat the week before the race as normal as possible – No need to over stress yourself out by living your life around one race. If you usually meet friends for a wine during the week, go as you normally would. The body loves routine and the more you keep to its standard routine, the calmer it will be.

No 7: Visualise having a great race and then let it go and chill out, relax – Visualising will help you to feel less nervous and it will boost your confidence.

Thanks to my sponsors at www.genwhitson.com. You can now find me on twitter @GenWhitson https://twitter.com/GenWhitson.

About Our Cycling News and Review Columnist

Jarlath-Cross-20131-960x576_GenevieveGenevieve Whitson is a NZ born, British/Scottish cyclist, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Gen has a raced at the highest level for Road, Cyclocross and Mountain biking, have competed in four World Championships, multiple World Cups as well as riding professionally on the road. Gen has raced all around the globe on the road bike and is currently riding for a Belgium team, Isorex competing in all the major spring classics.

Highlights of her career include gaining a top 30 finish at the World Cyclocross Championships, a stage win in a major USA road tour, and winning the 2015 Scottish National Hill Climb Champs. Gen also loves to ride a rickshaw in Edinburgh for strength training on the side and is heavily involved in supporting/mentoring up and coming female/male athletes to ride to their potential. Her mantra on the bike is: Eat the pain…

Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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