In my previous blog I addressed my very own personal mental preparation techniques during the pre-race stage and during the race itself, in order to get the most out of my performance.
The story does not end there.
In this article I'll be exploring the multiple avenues of your mental state post-race. Dividing in to several scenarios and how to best to mentally deal with each.
This is the most overlooked stage of your mindset challenge.
How well you've executed your race this will have a profound effect on your mental well-being.
This is what every athlete strives for, the perfect race! Culminating in a: PB (personal best), prize money, selection for a major championship, or even a gold medal.
We all know that winning is not easy! However, from a mental perspective, dealing with a victory can be just as challenging.
Don't be fooled into thinking that just because you've won your race/event you're out of the psychological woods.
A chain of positive results can create a feeling of invincibility.
What you do with this feeling can either strengthen or weaken your mindset. Feelings and emotions can either fuel your mind or sap it. You can use this 'invincible' feeling to fuel your mind and get yourself hyped for your next race/event. However, it can have an opposite effect.
What do I mean by this?
Well, if you become too comfortable, you'll start to let your guard down. That once invincible feeling can morph into over-confidence and cockiness. It's that type of mindset where mistakes start to surface and your winning streak is cut short.
Your biggest enemy during a positive result or a chain of positive results is your own ego.
A mental technique I like to use in order to keep the ego at bay is to swipe the slate clean for every race that I do. Just because I won last time, doesn't mean I'll win again. Just because I beat someone last time doesn't mean I'll be them again.
Athletes that are over confidant revel in their past success and talk about past victories like old war stories. From a psychological perspective your past successes and defeats mean nothing. The moment you line up on that start line it's anybody's game.
So, to sum up; use positive results to boost your performance and keep your own ego at bay.
The unavoidable part of any athlete's career is defeat.
But don't be discouraged! It's with defeats that the biggest gains are made if you apply the right mindset. Just how positive results can positively or negatively affect your performance, the same goes for negative results.
When you inevitably go through a negative result, it's important to analyse what went wrong and what lead to that negative result.
Once the weakness has been identified, tweak your training program in order to strengthen your weakness. In doing so, you address the problem, feel more confidant and you'll reduce the chances of repeating the same negative experience.
It's also important to find the silver lining in every negative result, this helps harness a more positive and successful mindset.
The best mindset to adopt when it comes to a negative result (in my opinion) is that it should fuel your determination and will to succeed next time.
After carefully analysing your weaknesses, success is more likely to occur.
Worst case scenario is that you have a chain of negative results and you are unable to identify the cause of the series of the chain.
Understandably a chain of negative results can lead to self-doubt and insecurity. In some cases, it can be that you are asking too much of yourself, too soon.
You need to understand that any athletic career or athletic endeavour is a lengthy process. There are no short cuts. Be patient.
The best way to move forward may be to take some time off, take a step back and disconnect from your sport for a few days, weeks, months. However long it takes to 're-calibrate' your mindset.
Another way may be to try new diets or training programs. This could be the cause of your chain of negative results.
Obviously, negative results are not just down to how your perform on the day.
There are external factors that may influence you. Such as an argument with a loved one, having a bad night sleep or receiving bad news, all before an important race. In these scenarios you have to compartmentalise your negative thoughts and experiences and put all your energy into executing your race. There will be a time and a place to address the external factors. Try and make sure that they don't interfere with your race/event.
I'll leave you with this final thought…
Both success and defeat are temporary.
All you can do is set yourself up for the best possible outcome.
Using mental preparation techniques; a positive mindset, being well prepared and a solid training program... there's nothing you can't achieve!
About the Author
Danny Sidbury is a professional T54 wheelchair athlete and a KYMIRA Sport brand athlete 2019.
Danny is pictured above wearing the Pr02 Cycle kit now available with long tights or shorts.
If you would like to find out more about mindset check out our blog explaining how to get your head in the zone for a race.
Take a look at our other blogs to help you prepare for a race;
Preparing for a long race requires endurance training
Strength training can be done using only your body weight, wherever you are using Calisthenics.
Did you know that active recovery is an essential way to accelerate your recovery process?