Having a plan that allows for the unexpected. In his race with Landy, Bannister exhibited his ability to change plans during the race. When Landy had built up a commanding lead by the end of the second lap and showed no signs of tiring, Bannister realized that he would have to forego his prerace plan.
To have any “finish’ ’ left I must be able to follow at his shoulder throughout the early part of the last lap. How could I close the gap before the bell? If I were to stand any chance of winning I must reach his shoulder before then.
I must abandon my own time schedule and run to his.
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This was the turning point of the race. (Bannister, 1955, p. 214)
Mental preparation. For the last 5 days before the Iffley Road race, Bannister rested as he began to store “nervous energy. ? Then he began to run the race in his mind.
Each night in the week before the race there came a moment when I saw myself at the starting line. My whole body would grow nervous and tremble.
I ran the race over in my mind. Then I would calm myself and sometimes go off to sleep. (Bannister, 1955, p. 186)