In this week’s episode of the “Mental Side of XTERRA” with XTERRA elite Evan Pardi we learn how to take pre-race visualization one-step further.
“In music, before we go on stage for a performance we have a good idea how the show is going to flow,” says Pardi, who plays the double bass regularly with the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Broadway Theatre, and others. “We know the order of what’s going to happen, what we should be doing, where to turn pages, all the little logistics. It’s important to do the same thing in XTERRA.”
In addition to pre-riding, reviewing the course map, going over aid station logistics, swim exit locations, transition details, and the visualization of race flow, Pardi recommends engaging your tactile system.
“For example, when you think about the swim imagine how the water will feel on you. If there is a section on the bike course that makes you nervous, think through that. It’s okay to be nervous, just accept it and move through it,” he says.
In racing, just as in musical performance, Pardi explains that thinking through your tactile functioning beforehand will prepare your mind to be comfortable in that zone in that moment.
“And mental comfort equals physical comfort,” he added.
Pardi also advocates for arriving to a race site as early as possible, thinking deeply about the logistics, writing down and reviewing your notes, and creating a race strategy ahead of time.
“In music we play the piece in our brain before the performance. I’ll think through an entire movement,” says Pardi. “My mentor Gerard Schwarz, a long-time conductor for the Seattle Symphony, would say a rabbit who knows all the ground near its hole has a 99% survival rate from a predator attack. It’s a metaphor for how being mentally prepared will provide a boost to your physical performance.”
Pardi has spent the better part of two decades working on things like stage fright, performance anxiety, and nerves in general. In the coming weeks Pardi will share what he has learned in the process and really show the relevance between musical performance and athletic races.