BU Multi-Team Meet: The Key to Consistency
This past Thursday truly began the 2015 track season for me with the Boston University Multi-Team Meet. It was another small meet to get me revved up for the indoor season.
I wasn't feeling as great as I did at the BU Season Opener going into this meet.
The week before I had an issue with my left hamstring and a few days before the Multi-Team Meet my shins had been hurting/sore. Personally, the hamstring issue scared me a lot more than my shins. My shins have hurt since the first day I've started running, and over the years I've learned what they can and can't handle, and how to take care of them. In comparison, I have never had hamstring issues, and a tweaked or pulled hamstring can take you out of commission for a long time. Trying to get back from an injury is one of the most frustrating things to deal with as an athlete, and can ruin goals and plans for the year in an instant. When I started to feel something in mine, I immediately went to the physical trainers to treat it and paid extra attention to what I was doing. Thankfully, it felt fine by the start of this week.
At the meet I could tell during my warm-up that I wouldn't be breaking any records in the 60 that day.
My warm-up went fine, but I was way too anxious throughout the heats and final. I get pretty anxious before races and I have to take some time to try and center myself so I'm not too jittery at the start. Usually that's what makes the biggest difference in how my starts go and how focused I stay in a race. It also affects how consistent I stay with my times. The times I run often fluctuate throughout the season, some days I'll have great days and run PR's, and other days I'll run OK-ish times that I'm not satisfied with at all. Consistency is something I'm definitely working toward, especially in my starts.
So what's the key to consistency?
I have a few ideas to what it might be. For me, I think I need to work more on my mental space. I take some time between my warm-up and race to just calm down, take deep breaths, and visualize what I need to do at the start and during the race. That has actually helped me a lot in getting myself together, especially at my bigger meets. Another thing that definitely helps is just getting in the race experience. The more races I run, the more used to the feeling I get, so I generally feel calmer. After months of just practicing, getting back into that race mentality doesn't come instantly for me. The last thing that usually comes to mind is just putting my all in at practices. If I can feel more confident about my starts before the meet even comes around, then that feeling will just transfer to meet days. My coaches like to say that nothing should change from practice to meets. Just do what you've been doing, and everything will work itself out. I just need to always keep this in mind.
So, how did the meet go overall?
It went fine, in my opinion. I wasn't happy with my 60m times, but I won the final. I also ran the 200m, and I was actually pretty happy with how it went. I felt pretty good throughout, and ended up running pretty much my indoor PR (my PR is 24.70; I ran 24.71). Looking back now, I feel like I could have definitely run faster, but I'll have more chances at it in the coming weeks.
As an athlete there's always something to work on. For me it's my mental space and technical abilities. If any of you have pre-meet anxiousness, too, how do you deal with it? Leave me a comment and let me know!