Summer is in many ways my favorite time of year where Nature, trees and plants have sprung out, the sun is high and there is heat in the air and long bright days. But for me, summer is also equal to events, competitions and championships. Everything from small dinner parties in Skovdalen in the hometown of Aalborg to Danish and international championships around the world. Team tournaments, foreign qualifiers and national team trips also fill the calendar. The pursuit of good maturities, personal records, medals and rankings, as well as competition and championship experience is in full motion. It’s during these months that the highlights of the athletics season take place, and I’m always tremendously excited. It is this time of year that I have spent most of the fall and winter preparing for my training.
With feelings of pride and relief on one hand, I look forward to standing on the starting line in competition clothes full of adrenaline, waiting for the gun shot to sound, ready to run as hard as I possibly can and squeeze my body as much as possible. It may sound strange, but I most look forward to the last 100m of the race when it hurts the most and the body is almost paralyzed. The sight of the finish line and the endorphins and feelings of pride and relief that await on the other side causes my head to bite the pain and fight on. The release of adrenaline after a race is indescribable and a huge motivation for me. On the other hand, the prelude to a convention is also difficult and demanding.
I am so nervous that my heart rate rises and my body almost trembles. Will it go well? Am I having a good time? Can I do everything I can? The worst is the thoughts of, if not, things that I had hoped for or expected. If I underperform or make stupid choices along the way, I end up not running out to exhaustion. I know that such races will occur in season, for some days one is just better than others. But nothing is so bad that it is not good for anything, and it is often from the worst races where you learn most.
The interplay between my diet, sleep and exercise Thus, the event season is both the most liberating but also the most nerve-wracking period of the year for me. You could say that the hour of excitement has come and there is not much more I can do about my form now. Have my preparations been good enough? Am I strong enough? Has the interaction between my diet, sleep and exercise been optimal in relation to my recovery and development process? Of course, diet, exercise and sleep are still important at this time. It is crucial to my performance that I focus on my recovery, including sleeping well (and enough), eating healthy and varied and relaxing sufficiently between the intense workouts and competitions. If I am not fully reimbursed for an event, my prerequisites for a successful race will already be limited. Therefore, it is important for me to try to prepare myself as much as possible and try to make the conditions around the event and myself as optimal as possible. It requires a lot of focus, planning and not least experience. For what choices and routines that work just for your top performance is very individual and important to know as an elite athlete.
Packed lunches, electrolytes and not least the Ration bars for me, it is important to do the things that I usually do. That is to say, for example, that I eat what I normally do so that my body is not exposed to anything new that I do not know the reaction to. Therefore, as far as possible, I bring my own food, water and snacks to the rallies. Especially for foreign competitions where I do not know the options for food and drink purchases, I always remember a packed lunch, electrolytes and not least my Ration bars. I absolutely love the new and slightly smaller RATION 40g snack bar because it fits perfectly if I just need a small energy source that doesn't fill up too much in my stomach. While it may seem tempting with exciting, delicious foreign food, it is not on competition day that I have to start experimenting.
In my sport, it is often tenths and even hundreds of seconds that determine the rankings and determine whether the performance has been satisfactory. This means that small and perhaps immediately irrelevant details can affect the final result. Some things such as weather and competitors are hard to handle, but there are many other things that I can try to control. Personally, I prefer to prepare as much as possible the days up to a given competition, so I avoid stressing over and pondering the preparations for the actual competition day. That is why I always make a plan for when I get up, what and when to eat, when to walk or take a walk to get my legs started, and not least a detailed overview of my warm-up and final preparations up to the race start. If I have to run several days in a row or maybe even more races on the same day, it is also important for me to plan things after the race, so that I am for example sure to get jogged off and stretched.
Maximum throttle for the next competition
Then it is imperative that I get enough fluid and food as soon as possible to get the recovery process started. That is why I usually grab a RATION food bar immediately after my stretching because it is easy to carry everywhere and contains a good distribution of the macronutrients carbohydrate, fat and protein, which is important in optimizing the recovery, so I can get the most energy stored for the next competition.