Race Prep Lesson #2 - Finding Your Routine

Watch Heather's video here:

Read the lesson summary below!

Tip # 1 - Make a pre-race routine

Heather (and many other Olympians) created a personal routine and would keep her routine the exact same every time she raced.

Heather's Example Routine

Here are the different pieces of Heather's personal pre-race routine.  She would try and do as many of these things as she could before every race!

  • Race Day Breakfast - Peanut butter and jam on a bagel with banana and apple juice
  • Race Day Lunch - A chicken submarine sandwich
  • 'Fast Juice' (Her favourite drink, Crystal Light)
  • Quiet time at the pool to stretch and relax
  • check
    Music  (Heather listened to the same playlist each competition)
  • check
    3 tuck jumps behind the blocks
  • check
    3 splashes of water behind the blocks

This process helped Heather to focus on something other than being nervous. She could take the lead up to her race step by step without overwhelming herself with the race. 

Tip #2 - Allow yourself to be flexible

You may need to alter your routine sometimes, so its' sometimes best to not be too superstitious!
Find a routine that works for you personally. It is different for each person!

Heather learned over the course of her career that she raced better when she didn't put too much pressure on her routine, or on herself.

Heather MacLean Head to Head


The pressure I put on myself to perform often negatively affected my performance”

Tip #3 - You want some stress and nerves! It means you care!

Just like Heather did; find tools that will help you calm down when you’re feeling too nervous and remember that it takes practice!

Try these different ideas and tools out at swim meets when you don’t feel too nervous, so that when you do - you’re prepared to use them!

To remove any self doubt or negative thoughts of “I can’t”, Heather would lean on her support systems like her friends, family and coaches

Heather's Recommended Stress Management Tools

  • Journaling
  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation Tools
  • Deep Breathing
Class Completion