Friday, September 11, 2015

Final Prep!

     The Beast is this Saturday! You’ve done the training, now it’s time to perform and see the fruits of your labor. Be sure to check the Barber Center website for details about packet pick-up, and event-day info pertaining to wave times and shuttle transportation. Check out the obstacle names and what you think they may consist of, as well as the map showing their locations. The Barber Center website does a great job taking care of these details. My contribution will consist of pre-competition nutrition, hydration, stretching, foam rolling, and attire.
      I recommend carb loading one to two days prior to the event. The Beast is 10 miles through the sand, so it’s imperative that your glycogen (stored glucose) is sufficient in providing you with the energy required to get you through the event. The number of grams of carbs varies between individuals, but generally ranges from 200-400 grams/day prior to the event. I use the Whole Foods Co-Op for their energy squares in the bulk foods section. They contain a number of organic seeds and nuts for packing in the quality calories and carbs. Bananas and Kind bars are always good for fueling your body, as well as figs and dates. I regularly use Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookies from the Vitamin Shoppe. They’re all-natural, non-GMO, and a great source of carbs. Along with carb-loading, you should drink about 1 gallon of water each day for the two days prior to the event. Drink at least 1 quart (32 oz.) of water and 50 – 100 grams of carbs Saturday morning. There will be water and Gatorade throughout the course. 
     I recommend stretching your hip flexors, hip adductors, hip abductors, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves thoroughly Friday night and Saturday morning. Accompany these stretches with foam rolling of the same muscles you’ve just stretched. Roll each of your feet over a tennis ball, especially in your arches, to alleviate pain and tightness in your feet. You can even use a tennis ball on your quads, hip adductors and abductors for areas that the foam roller is unable to release the myofascia.

     When it comes to your attire, you want to have full range of movement in your arms and legs. So, don’t wear layers, wear a single layer of a t-shirt/sleeveless or compression top depending on the weather. You are going to get wet, so make sure the material is a tight-fitting dri-fit top and bottom. You may want gloves, but it is not necessary for everyone. If you choose to do so, they should be fingerless lifting gloves. This is to enhance your grip as well as to allow proper drainage of water out of your gloves. I recommend a pair of running shoes or cross-trainers, and I do not wear socks. Socks get wet and may cause blisters. The important thing is that you are comfortable and that you are wearing the attire in which you have been training. Best of luck and see you on the course!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Beast on the Blog: Addressing Performance Anxiety

     Sport psychology is the subdiscipline of exercise science and is utilized in understanding the influence of behavioral processes on specific movement skills.  By tapping into the psychological processes taking place as we prepare for a competitive event, we can better understand and address the factors that may hinder our performance. Everyone responds differently to challenges and the possibility of failure. It all comes down to anxiety and how you overcome it in order to perform at your optimal level to achieve success. First, we must understand the definitions of the types of anxiety.

State anxiety – A subjective experience of apprehension and uncertainty. It’s a negative experience, but may have a positive influence on performance.
Trait anxiety – A personality variable relating to the probability that one will perceive an environment as threatening. Individuals with high levels of this type of anxiety exhibit thoughts of failure.
Cognitive anxiety – Negative thoughts.
Somatic anxiety – Physical responses such as tense muscles, elevated heart rate, and upset stomach.
     I’ve found that the two best ways to address these types of anxiety, are through self-efficacy and motivation. Self-efficacy refers to the level of self-confidence you have about a given skill, task or event. The more confident you are about your abilities, the less you will be concerned about certain stressors attributed to your event.
The two types of motivation are intrinsic and achievement:

Intrinsic motivation – The desire to be competent and self-determining.
Achievement motivation – Relates to the athlete’s wish to engage in competition, or social comparison.

     These types of motivation can be further broken down into the motive to achieve success (MAS) and the motive to avoid failure (MAF). The MAS athlete thrives in situations that have a 50% probability of success. The MAF athlete prefers situations that are either very easy or so difficult that they are not expected to succeed. 

     With all of this information, it’s imperative to identify the type of anxiety that best exhibits your competitive nature. Next, is to figure out whether or not you are confident in your abilities through the training you’ve done in preparation for the Beast on the Bay. Once you’ve covered that, you can then move on to how you are optimally motivated. Whether it’s through achieving success or avoiding failure, you can thrive in either state. It just becomes a matter of addressing it appropriately and effectively. You’ve put in the training and you wouldn’t be doing something as challenging as the Beast on the Bay if you were truly afraid of failure. So, have confidence in what you’ve accomplished in your training and do your best to extinguish negative thoughts. Enjoy the Beast!