Credit - Clark Tibbs via Unsplash

Obstacle Course Racing World Championship season is upon us, with the next month filled with pinnacle races from all the big players – Tough Mudder, Spartan and the OCRWC. 

For the athletes I’ve been working with all season, I’m noticing an increase in the pressure they feel as the ‘A’ race that was once on a distant horizon is now only down the road. 

Hesitations, questions, quandaries, setbacks and minor injuries are coming up more regularly in our conversations, and are perceived to be taking people one step away from the ideal race entry programme they’ve been trying to stick too.

So, here are 4 steps to consider that are proven to get you in a successful racing mindset…whatever position you’re currently in.

Accept your current position

The road to any destination is rarely perfectly straight (even Roman roads flow up and down with the terrain).

We know this. So why not apply the same thinking to the journey you’re on. 

Instead of trying to straighten the path, live in the present and accept your current position.

You can’t change what has led to this moment in time. You can only guide your future and hold that plan lightly to allow for the moments you encounter along the way.

Choose to live in the present from this moment until you cross that finish line. Accept you have the capabilities you currently have. Commit to executing your game plan for the race and every obstacle within it to the best of your abilities, factoring in the conditions you are racing in.

Remember your Why

You set off on this journey for a reason – To enjoy the health benefits of getting fitter. To complete a difficult challenge. To compete against the best. To beat the best. To inspire others.

These are just some of the deeply-held, personal reasons why people choose to run when it’s raining, complete one extra set, or forego that muffin until after the big race.

But often as those doubts creep in, many have not engaged in their Why for a while.

So get some balance back by answering the following questions:

  1. Why does pursuing this goal matter to me?
  2. How will going through this experience enrich my life?
  3. When will I allow myself the space to enjoy the experience of pursuing my goals?

You’ve already answered the critical question – believe the answer

There is one question I have found that athletes fail to answer. It’s one that holds many back from realising their full potential, and when they answer it with honesty and integrity, an undiscovered level of performance is unlocked.

The question is “Am I capable?”

Am I capable of racing against the best in the world? Am I capable of completing all the obstacles and keeping my band? Am I capable of running at the speed needed to succeed?

If you stood opposite a good friend saying the same things to you, 9 out of 10 times I suspect you’d remind them of what they have achieved.

So do the same for yourself.

Shift from asking “Am I capable?” to saying “I am capable…” and start listing what you are capable of.And for the icing on that capability cake, start believing the answers. You deserve to.

Leave 100% of everything out there on the course

The finish line should be an area for elation, enjoyment, and emancipation from all that you felt was holding you back before you crossed that start line.

There is one sure-fire way of giving your head the space to allow that to happen, and that’s committing to giving the race 100%. 

100% focused on ensuring every stride, every leap, every grab, every carry are committed to completing each mini obstacle that lies in your path with no excuses.

If you arrive in the finish area and the first reflective thought you have isn’t ‘wow, I truly left everything on that course’, you didn’t give it 100% of everything you’ve got – no excuses.

You have the power to make sure you think the thought you want be having, so place all hold-ups, hang-ups and hesitations in the metaphorical bin on your way to the start line, contract with yourself to focus on the task in hand 100% of the way around, and smile when you’ve done just that.

Enjoy the special opportunity you’ve earned yourself, and remember we are all more capable than we think we are.