Alone in Nature:
Before a big race, people take all the necessary time to ensure they have the right gear, the right nutrition, and the right warm up. But, I don't know of many racers that take the necessary time to go for a calming nature walk. Taking some quiet time for a warm up IN the woods or in a natural setting can help boost your athletic performance.
Recent research, including some from the Nippon Medial School in Tokyo, has shown that walking in nature improves your health. When you take your walk and relax, your senses are working to calm you down. Your eyes are registering the trees and the sun, your ears hear the wind, and your nose smells certain natural chemicals; this is all leading to a change in blood flow to your brain that in turn calms you down. It also makes you happier and reduces anxiety.
The study also showed improved athletic performance for those that took a nature walk as opposed to those who didn't take the time to be in nature. Moreover, nature walkers had stimulated brain activity and improved circulation, two more benefits that are helping you perform better!
How to do a nature walk/run/warmup session:
1. Find a calming, natural space
2. Begin by simply standing in one place, becoming aware of your surroundings.
3. Once you've become aware and present, you can begin walking (or lightly jogging, or warming up).
4. As you walk/jog/warmup, shift your awareness inward and start to take note of your body, feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Address any issues you may be having. Take the time to visualize your performance in your race in a positive way.