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6. One Day One Race

One Day One Race is all about delivering your absolute best when it really matters most.

Above: This VideoScribe explains One Day One Race.

UK Sport funding, that supports the World Class Programme, revolves around medal winning delivery at the Olympics.

Whilst Training as Play comes first One Day One Race very much comes last. It is the 6th and final pillar; the pillar that is most focused on the delivery of excellence. 

For Alistair as the double Olympic champion and 2013 World Champion Non Stanford one day one race is one race every four years, each four year cycle has one singular focus – the Olympic Games. All preparation, training and racing points towards delivering on that one day every four years.

Obviously the expression of One Day One Race is very different at each age and stage of the pathway. For a younger developing athlete One Day One Race might be 8 or 10 or 12 races in just one year. At this age and stage it isn’t about winning or losing it is about and the athlete exploring the learning processes behind delivering their best possible performance on those given targeted days. As an athlete develops and works their way towards the top of the pathway, and the World Class Podium Programme, the days on which they need to deliver their best performance become far less frequent and far more targeted. This allows them to enhance their processes over time and ultimately excel at delivering on that one day in that one race every four years when it matters most.

Athlete Insights

Here is what Al and Non have to say:

Do you enjoy targeting a race and training and building towards it?

AB - Absolutely! I thrive on it, to me it is what racing in it’s purest form is about – targeting a race and delivering on that day. This has always been my biggest motivation. I think the essence of performance is being able to stand on a start line, know you couldn't be in a better position to perform and then doing it. 

NS - Yes I do  - I think it is good to have a clear plan around what are the key races – I want a singular focus so I don’t float along.

Does expectation help you perform better?

AB - It's probably the oldest adage in sport that the only real pressure is that which you put on yourself. Real expectation is you, and those around you, knowing there is no reason you shouldn’t perform at your best. Outside expectation should always be an insignificant factor.

NS - Yes it does. I think you have to be able to manage it constructively though  - for me it is about not letting people down.

Have you got better at delivering your best when it matters through your career?

AB - I am not sure I have, I have always really engaged with and enjoyed the process delivering my best – obviously the stakes have got higher but fundamentally I have always felt like I have been good at delivering this.

NS - I think I have always been fairly good at it – I think I would say I have got more consistent at it though.

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