Cerebral Fitness: Mastering the Mental Game

Add More Detail

The script I have written can be used as a starting place for your personal script. Your story can be general for any race or you can add more details and modify the story to personalize it for a specific event. The more detail you add, the better.

If, while using visualization, you realize you forgot an important step, just rewind the movie and add that detail. You can rewind as many times as necessary to complete a successful movie and perfect race. Of course, if you're writing a script, adding more detail is as easy as inserting more text.

F.E.A.R.

In training and racing, it is often False Expectations Appearing Real that cause anxiety. Athletes worry about things that might happen and this fear churns up stomach acid. Your script can help.

After completing the script for The Perfect Race, work on one for Race Day Challenges. What worries you the most about race day? Write those things down. Once you have a list of worrisome items, brainstorm solutions for those problems and list what you can do to prevent them.

For issues out of your control—such as weather—how best can you be prepared? How will you deal with it and what will your little voice say? The more options you have for preventing and solving problems, the better.

You certainly don't want fear to cripple your race, but consider that in certain situations, some level of fear can be good for you. Fear may help you avoid dangerous situations. Worry may motivate you to train consistently, for fear of not completing an event.

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear."
— Mark Twain

Cerebral Fitness

Solving training and racing problems is an intellectual exercise. If you're a beginner at working on the mental game, you'll probably have to think your way out of simple challenges first.

Just like physical skills, the more mental fitness you have, the easier it is to respond to problems. Look for what is within your control and take action. As you advance in skill level, many actions will become responses out of intuition and instinct, rather than a cumbersome intellectual process.

Of course, there will always be problems that increase in difficulty after mastering a particular skill level. This is a good thing—problems are often opportunities to gain new knowledge and achieve new performance levels.

How is your mental fitness? Is it time to work on your mental game?


Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

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