Five weeks stand before us and the AKC National Agility Championships.
I wanted to make another sort of reminder list for myself for the coming weeks. I’ll do my best to follow my own advice. Please add to this!
Like the final days (or hours if you’re like me) before an exam in school, there’s not much you don’t already know. The foundation you need for the nationals you already have. You practice it every week in training. You compete in it every weekend you show. Trust in the skills and work you’ve put into your team- doubting yourself won’t get you anywhere.
Stick to your guns.
Run your dog the way you are confident in running. Do not change your style to be like someone else- do not compare yourself at this point. Re-evaluation and re-training comes after major events. Not in the weeks before. Don’t second guess your initial instinct on handling choices– chances are you’re thinking them for a reason, and a good reason. They work for you. Put in your headphones and blare some good tunes before your walk-thru. Give yourself the time to plan and walk and visualize the good.
Mentally & physically. Surround yourself with positive affirmations. I have positive phrases posted in my notebooks, as the background of my phone. I stick them in the mirror or tape them to the fridge. At my desk at work. There’s a bunch in this post too. Push yourself- but not too hard (read: my hamstring scare). Drink more water. Eat well. Get to bed earlier. STRETCH. Run. Walk. You’ll thank yourself when you see that straight running line in Round 1/2/3/finals & it doesn’t feel like your legs are falling off, or your lungs are giving out.
Quality vs. Quantity training.
You know how to do serpentines. Blinds, fronts, rears. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t know how to handle the types of courses you’re going to see at nationals. Not that you shouldn’t train skills, but don’t overdue it. The more you over-analyze the more likely you are to doubt what you already have.
Be kind to yourself.
Expect more, but do not criticize yourself too harshly. There are plenty of other people in this life who will do that for you. Surround yourself with those who don’t.
You’ve got 5 weeks left. Make them count.