“This photo was taken in 1983 or ‘84 at what I think was called ‘The President’s Race’ in Dallas, Texas. No, it was not a new fashion statement!
The early summer race was a scorcher and surviving the run was the tall order for the day. I rarely ran with my shirt pulled over my head, but at this moment, I thought that the technique would allow a bit more air movement on my torso. Honestly, I doubt it worked! However, the spontaneous moment elevated my psychologically willingness to endure the 10-mile run.
There are a few takeaways from extracting an optimal race day when the conditions are dire, like in Dallas. Here’s are some of my tips:
1. Be spontaneous and adjust with the conditions. Don’t mentally fight them. I recall on numerous occasions that my competitors cited that Dave Scott enjoyed extreme conditions: Hot, humid windy weather was my forte. No it wasn’t! I just planted the seed that I was going to manage the conditions. For example, in this Dallas race, there were several long periods when the wind was at my back, humidity was tortuous and the heat index was brutal. However there were also periods where the wind shifted, there were a few shady bits and the relentless conditions softened a wee bit! Remember that extreme conditions don’t last forever!
2. Concentrate on other aspects within yourself instead of the extreme conditions. I use these tips to overcome the adverse conditions on the bike and run:
BIKE: Stand up, sit down, slide fore and aft on the seat, shift to a lower gear and monitor your body mechanics by focusing on one area – like your core.
RUN:Know the difficult sections of the run. Try more arm action and slightly shorter steps to regain leg speed. Relax your face and your body will relax.
3. Practice Mindful Breathing. This tip particularly applies during the swim but can be used during the bike and run as well. Focus on slow deep inhales while you’re standing on the waters edge. When the gun goes off, see and feel your bubbles on the exhale and look up at the sky to take a long and measured inhale. Mindful practice of your breathing will calm any anxiety.
4. Revel in Your Effort. It’s just a race so find the moment when the “discomfort “ is high and you’re actually enjoying the tenacity and perseverance that you’re applying to the race. A game of mind control will always prevail over mental roulette.