How I Prepare for a Race: A Case Study
In the lead up to a race, it is vital that drivers take care of both their bodies and their minds. Sound nutrition and mental wellbeing are crucial to karting success. We caught up with Simon, a keen driver, to discover how he prepares for a race.
Q. How do you mentally prepare for a race?A. I see mental preparation as even more important than physical preparation. I have a quiet night the evening before a race to minimise any fatigue or stress. On the morning of the race, I try to keep my mind clear. If negative ideas or thoughts of my competitors creep up on me I do my best to dismiss them. I tell myself that it’s my race, not theirs. For me, engaging in other activities to take my mind away from any negativity or nerves doesn’t work. Playing a game on my phone, for example, leaves me feeling distracted and ill prepared. Instead, I focus on my plan for the race ahead and visualise every step of it. I picture my ideal race, including the first perfect lap. This helps to boost my confidence and calm my nerves. Sometimes I even repeat short instructions to myself, almost like a mantra!
Q. What do you eat the night before a race?A. Karting may not be the most physical of sports but good nutrition is really important. I aim for a healthy, balanced diet at all times but pay particular attention to nutrition in the lead up to a race. The night before a race, I avoid heavy foods red meat and potatoes. I find that these can sit in my stomach and leave me bloated. Instead, I opt for fresh fruit, vegetables, salad and protein such as fish or chicken.
Q. What’s on the menu on race day?A. On the morning of a race, protein and carbohydrates are my priorities. That means lots of chicken, fish and nuts. I opt for wholemeal carbohydrates such as wholemeal pasta and wholemeal bread. These give me tons of slow release energy and don’t disrupt my blood sugar levels too much; perfect for race day stamina. I drink a glass or two of milk but water is the key fluid for me on race days. Staying hydrated is necessary for both my physical performance and mental concentration.
Q. Do you use energy drinks?A. Personally, I steer clear of energy drinks. Whilst they can be useful for a quick energy fix, I find they often cause my energy levels to ‘crash’ after a while. For me, plenty of sleep, sensible nutrition and a focused mind are the ways to go.
Q. Do you have a race day routine?A. I always go for a short, quick walk on the morning of a race. It helps me to clear my mind from worries, focus, loosen up my muscles and get the endorphins pumping. It also allows me a bit of alone time, which is vital in the lead up to a race where it is all about my concentration and my performance.
Lessons can be learnt from the importance Simon places on the personal aspect of a race. It is crucial to devise a preparation routine to suit your unique needs; one that will help you to unlock your individual potential on the track.