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Racing Toward Optimism

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty"

~ Winston Churchill

Racing season has begun….and many of us are busy racing or planning to race or at least considering racing…time to talk a little bit about expectations and outlook and how they affect racing.

I was once told there are two types of racers: those who race from a mindset of fear and those who race from a mindset of excitement and fun. Here’s the difference. (Hint: substitute the word “life” for “race”….)

Racing Out of Fear:

  • Convinced that they have to race hard because everyone is watching/chasing them and they don’t want to lose

  • Sure that if they skip a workout or don’t work hard during every workout, they won’t be able to PR/win/meet their goals

  • Try to control everything that happens before, during and after the race to make sure things go right

  • Tend to be anxious, bothered, and sort of miserable before, during (and after) racing; even when they do well, they have negative things to say about their race

  • Sure that they probably will “lose” or do badly, but that’s ok because if they do well, they can be “pleasantly surprised”

  • Consider themselves to be “realists” who are practical and sensible, unlike the Pollyanna-ish “optimists” who believe things will work out just fine...

Racing Out of Fun/Excitement:

  • Know that racing is supposed to be fun and that there are good and bad days: enjoy the good ones, and let go of the bad ones.

  • Feel that life is about more than just working out and racing and that as long as they did enough work and worked hard when they felt good, they’re likely to meet their goals.

  • Understand that they can only control some things about training/racing (and they take care of these things) but they let the things they can’t control go (weather, other people, etc).

  • Are fairly relaxed before, during and after racing: even when a race doesn’t go well, they can usually find something they learned or that was positive. When races go well, they celebrate. A lot.

  • Feel confident that races will go as they go: their job is to give 100% on race day and as long as they have, its a good day.

  • Others may feel they are “optimists” but mostly they think of themselves as enjoying the moments as much as they can rather than focusing on the past or the future.

  • Generally, they have the attitude that things are pretty good and will most likely be pretty good in the future: might as well enjoy the ride! If things go badly, you can deal with it as it happens. No sense in living it twice: worrying about it BEFORE it ever happens and then again if it ACTUALLY happens.

98% of the time, things work out pretty well in races…’ll figure out what to do when faced with the 2% of not so great things :-)

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