I view my rituals and routines like a river. I have a pretty locked in pre-practice daily ritual - I am a creature of habit. Wake up. Coffee and my standard PBBHC (peanut butter, banana, honey, cinnamon) toast.
Get dressed. Out the door. My routine was never intentionally set, it fell into place and that's just the way it is 99% of the time.
I view races as glorified workouts and workouts as dress rehearsal for races. I run through the same checklist for both. Warm up. Drills.
Photos by Heidi Thomas.
Bathroom. Shoe change. Strides. Race days just get a fancier outfit and crinkled bib number, because I've been bib cruncher for as long as I can remember and old habits die hard. I keep race days as close to normal days as possible, to maintain my own equanimity. It keeps me calm and cool to stick to my normal routine even if the coffee and PBBHC are happening at 7pm because I race at 9pm. I take a second longer to pick out the earrings I want to wear that day and take a little more care putting on my uniform. Up until the gun going off, I've done the dress rehearsal a million times and there's nothing to be nervous about.
The rituals leading up to "glorified workouts" and "dress rehearsals" set the tone for what you're about to do.
There seems to be more fear in the unknown. If my body and mind are getting put through the same motions leading up to something with a lot of uncontrollables, I find I'm more at ease and focused on the things I can control.
Maybe the act of rituals just plays into the hand of wanting to feel in control.
A river is constantly moving but sometimes the path changes. It floods or you don't have any honey for toast, or a beaver dam appears overnight, or you can't crinkle your bib because you've been "chip blocked" (when they put a chip on the back of the bib and give strict instructions not to alter your bib in any way shape or form...you know what I'm talking about).
The banks of the river are roughly the same but there is wiggle room for those uncontrollables to do their work.
The river always flows and gets to the destination.