In a little over a day I will be participating in my 5th Spartan race this year. I’m excited for this one in particular because it takes place in Montreal, which is just 90 miles north of my hometown in Vermont. This means I am closer to my mom, her amazingness, her love and her cooking (especially her popcorn, I can’t wait). Being home also gives me a sense of familiarity, relaxation, and a time to reflect. Another bonus of being home, I get to have some of our famous Vermont beer, my favorite being Switchback. This race is also special and exciting because I am doing it with some of my best friends and it has been too long since I have seen them. Love you guys!
However, with each race also comes a sense of nervousness. Although I don’t get as nervous as I did when I first started racing, I still get some butterflies in my stomach when I start to think about it. As we get nervous, our hearts start to beat a little faster and our body temperature rises. That is our body letting us know that we are about to do something outside of our comfort zone, and as we have discussed earlier, being out of our comfort zone can be a little scary.
Instead of being fearful of our nerves and our body’s reaction to them, I try to think that something potentially awesome is about to take place. So in situations of nervousness, I try a few tricks to stop me from overthinking and making it worse, and help me get back on track. Just remember, like anything, it takes practice so don’t be so hard on yourself if it’s hard at the beginning.
Trick #1 “BE POSITIVE!”
Let me say that again, BE POSITIVE! Don’t focus on all the things that could go wrong. Instead do the exact opposite, starting thinking about all the stuff that could be great. For example, I am not going to think about doing 30 horrendous burpees if I miss the spear throw during my race, but how great it will feel when my practice pays off, the spear is stuck in the hay-bale, and I am seeing everyone else go through the torture of burpees. Positivity will breed confidence and confidence will calm the nerves.
Trick #2 “Set some goals!”
Don’t focus on the finish or end product, unless that is your way to stay positive. Rather, set small goals to complete. These small goals will get you closer to the finish. Accomplishing a series of small goals will create a sense of “I can do this!” no matter what is making you nervous.
Trick #3 “Nervous PEE!”
Yes, you read it right. When nervous our bladders feel like they are going to explode. Go satisfy that bodily function and while you are doing it, try to relax! J
Trick #4 “Exercise.”
This wouldn’t be much of a health and wellness site if the trainer/author didn’t mention exercise. Exercise releases endorphins that cause that euphoric feeling. This feeling lasts throughout the day and can help calm those nerves. In my case where the race is exercise, my warm-up always helps get me centered.
Trick #5 “Use your supports!”
An awesome person is an awesome person, but a group of awesome people coming together forms something RAD! All awesome people get nervous, but it is how we battle through it that separates us. Try to remind yourself that you’re probably not the only nervous one. Use your supports of family, friends, and loved ones, become RAD, and get through the tough times.
When the nerves hit, we start to sweat, and we get a little uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and relax. Try some of these tricks and go forward. Be confident, kick-ass, and try to have some fun. Either way, I am sure you’ll end up with one great story no matter the outcome.
Top 5: All-time nervous situations.
- Going away to college: My first two years were not a good experience. I used my supports to stick with it and became the first in my extended family to graduate from college. I even had fun at the end.
- Getting my license: I wanted my license so I could drive a GTO to senior prom with a really amazing girl (the girl also made me nervous). I panicked and failed my first attempt. Oops! Prom was still a good time in case you were wondering.
- Every 1st date: Even though I try to play it smooth and confident, dating and specifically the first date gets me nervous. It always has me thinking , is this going to be fun or a train wreck.
- Skydiving: This was one of the best experiences of my life. After I landed I was in an ultimate state of relaxation, but that first second of free-falling made me sweat.
- Making the move to California: Simply put, so many unknowns. Positivity and support from my mom, my friends in Vermont, and Heather (my first roommate and guardian angel out here) got me through the nerves. These supports still help me whenever I need them. Many thanks, and MUCH LOVE!