I had made huge efforts for the last three months. I had trained relentlessly for 12 to 13 hours a week. After numerous ups and downs, turns and twists, victories and losses, the penultimate week had arrived. The triathlon was to be held on the coming Sunday. Our coach advised us complete rest. No training in this last week. Eat ice-cream one night before the final day, he said, to the joy of the entire team!
My mind was happy to have the rest week. My body was glad to get some extra sleep. We were well prepared. We had trained hard and long. Our bodies were ready for the ordeal that was to follow.. 500 meters of swimming, 11 km of cycling and then 21 km of running.
Then, my coach asked me what I was doing towards ‘mental preparation’. I was stumped. Its a triathlon, not a CAT examination! Why do I need mental training, I asked.
He explained to me that the mind needs to be prepared for every little thing that will happen on the day of the event. Right from the meals that I will eat on the previous day, the time I will sleep, the way I will pack my bags, the place I will keep my car keys, the time for which I will set up my alarm, the position of the water bottle near my bed, the breakfast I will eat, the time I will leave from home… everything little detail.
Not just that, he said I need to make it a ‘habit’ to live this schedule for at least 3 to 4 days before the event. My mind needs to get familiar with the track, the changing rooms, the swimming pool, the starting point. My mind needs to be able to feel that that place ‘belong’ to me. I need to feel familiarly, belongingness… oneness with that place.
That, he told me is ‘mental preparation’. Its that familiarity that would give me that extra 5% advantage. 5% in a 3 hour race is 9 minutes… a big deal!
It worked for me, and I surely am going to apply it not just in sports, but in every aspect of my life!