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The Sensible Flutist

The Sensible Flutist: October 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Racing or Fluting, Performance Anxiety Exists

I’m running the Army Ten Miler for the second time this Sunday and I’m a little nervous.

I didn’t follow a set training plan, but I increased my mileage from week to week and ended things with a 7 mile long run. Now I’m tapering and resting and I’ve had to keep my easy runs from turning into a mad dash when I start thinking about last year’s excitement. My run yesterday was an easy 11:00/mile pace, which makes me hopeful that I can PR (“personal record” for you non-race folks) compared to last year’s broken toe time (1:59:14). That doesn’t stop the occasional butterflies when I think about Sunday morning.

It’s a lesson in dealing with performance anxiety. The race part is easy – I can use those nerves to my advantage since it’s a methodical sub-2 hour process. How do I cram those lessons learned over a 2 hour period into a 10 minute audition or performance?

The biggest thing that has helped me shake the nerves is to acknowledge them. I attempted this in the audition I took a couple of weeks ago, and it helped somewhat. I gladly welcome pre-audition nerves because it means less adrenaline in the actual audition.

We’ll see what happens in my race on Sunday. I think my nerves are coming from a worry that I didn’t train long enough or I didn’t strength train enough. I have to accept that I’m as ready as I can be at this time. Just as we worry that we didn’t prepare enough in the practice room, the lessons I learn as an amateur runner easily translate to music. All we can do is plan, discipline ourselves to get the work done and remain self-confident.

Regardless of my performance anxiety on the course or in the audition room, both experiences make me crave more and they reaffirm that I need challenges in my life. Let the excitement of the moment overshadow your momentary discomfort. Accept the challenges and grow.

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