My Race Day Routine

2017 Apr | By

By Michael Andrew, 100m IM World Champion

Having a consistent and structured race day routine is something everyone should think about. If you consciously know what elements are part of it in advance, these then become automatic on race day. I try my best to implement one consistently in every race situation and I wanted to share it with you, along with some very important things I focused on leading up to my World Championship gold medal last year.

Like anyone, my race day routine starts with my arrival at the pool. Then I follow these steps:

1. Locate crash area – I like to find an open space, away from lot of people, that is comfortable.

2. Relax – I’ll take time to relax and go over race imagery (visualize) of my races in that session.

3. Prepare – After settling in, I will go and put on my Adidas training brief and go through my activation routine.

4. Warm-up – I do a general warm-up, just swimming long and getting comfortable with the pool and familiarizing myself with the walls and other aspects of the competition pool… this general warm-up is not something that will make the difference in a race, because it is done too far from the start of my race to maintain any sort of warmth or physical readiness.

5. Positivity – Once done and feeling good - I dress very warmly, use positive mood words, and speak positively.

Of these, the most important things that you can implement without even having a particular race day routine (which I strongly urge you to do) is to stay very warm, hydrate, and be positive. I felt like these were three important keys for me during 2016 Short Course World Championships in December.

Of course I was warming up, and stretching, and going through mental imagery, sleeping very well, recovering religiously, and stayed focused.

But those three things I did extra well that week and it paid off. I have always had incredible support with my family being at competitions and my dad (coach) being able to tell me what to do and help me do the right things, but this was my first major National team trip without any of my family and I loved the opportunity to practice what dad (and mom) taught me, as if they were there with me.

We were in Canada for Worlds in mid-winter, so it was definitely emphasized to stay warm. But once inside I maintained my warmth: I was always wearing sweatpants, I wore my team T-shirt underneath the thickest team hoody given too us, and then put my tracksuit top on over it. It was pretty awesome! I also had gloves that I wore everywhere, and my hoodie was usually on. In cold or even more mild weather, I’d even recommend wearing a beanie.

This of course doesn’t mean that every race is going to turn out like this or always go according to plan, but there are definitely things we can do to give ourselves our best chance to race to the top of our ability!

Next month, I’ll share you with you my Pre-race Routine starting about 30 minutes before any race. Thanks for following along!

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