Peak on race day

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Taper timing

'You should wind down your training in the week before the big day, known as tapering. Plan your taper in advance so you know what you are going to do in this week. Think of tapering as ‘optimisation’ time rather than rest. A structured taper will allow the body to recover from the accumulated fatigue of hard training without reversing the effects.'

Feel good

'Training frequency needs to be maintained just before the event, but focus on technical aspects and things that make you feel good. This will benefit you more than trying to hammer your fitness in the final training sessions.'

Have a plan

'Write down everything that could distract you from the main event and plan with this in mind. Having a timetable of the day will mean you don’t have to think about what you need to do and when you need to do it, clearing your mind to keep focus on the event.'

Final countdown

'The warm-up should reflect the demands of the event. Sprinters should do short bursts of fast runs, while endurance athletes need to get their bodies into the right rhythm. Whatever the sport, the warm-up should be a gradual transition into the main event.'

Own the moment

'Have confidence in yourself. At most events you’ll be mingling with your rivals beforehand so you’ll see what they are doing. Don’t let this distract you. They’re probably watching you so focus on what you are doing and do it well – put the fear back into them.'

Keep it simple

'When you are in the arena, keep everything simple and think only about the things that matter and that you can control. Once the race or game is under way your response should be automatic as you slip into competition mode. Your mind will be primed to make the right decisions at the right time.'

Jared Deacon

Jared Deacon is a former European 4x400m gold medalist, and is now strength and conditioning coach for the English Institute of Sport.

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