As he toes the start line, elite middle distance runner and New Balance athlete Ross Millington (@ross_millington) clears his mind. He’s done the training and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t perform well. “I just let the racing happen,” Ross says. It seems easy, but he wasn’t always this relaxed about competing.
“When I was a youngster I bottled it in races – I don’t race well if I think too much.” After several years riddled by back and foot injuries, Ross left his pre-race panic behind him. “It gave me a different perspective. I’d watch people getting stressed before racing and think, ‘I’d just love to be able to run right now.’”
“The injuries were horrible to go through, but they were a blessing in disguise. They made me tough mentally. I’d give myself a week to be moody, but after that I had to look to the future.”
His secret to mental strength is in the preparation: if you’ve done all you can to get ready to race, when it comes to the starting gun you can be confident you’re good to go. “People tend to overcomplicate things,” says Ross. “It’s just running at the end of the day.”
Ross runs best when he relaxes, and that’s exactly what he does in the hours before racing events. After an easy run, some drills and a nutritious meal, it’s time to chill – whether that means getting immersed in a good book, listening to music or catching up on TV shows. At race time he remembers all the hard work he’s put in, then he just runs. It’s that simple.