"In middle school, I would get shy and nervous, so my basketball coach told me to think about something simple [when competing]. I already had the physical training, the muscle memory where my body would react, but I needed the mental part. I love to eat and I love apples, so I would think about a green apple."Spec. Joseph Coe, a Soldier athlete participating in the Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas still thinks about that apple before he hits the track on the final day of practice before competition.The athletes participating in track receive comprehensive training that takes a holistic look at health and fitness. In addition to the sport-specific coaching, the athletes learn mental skills, take yoga and receive advice to improve their sleep and nutrition."I try to approach athletes as a big body of parts and pull them all together. Having someone who is specific to yoga, to have the whole mental [skills] team, to have the physical trainers, the athletic trainers and the coaches, we give [the athletes] a common language, a common vocabulary to work with," said Wayne Howard, an assistant track coach who works with the distance runners.The Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program supports the Army Trials by sending Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts to work with each sport. These MRT-PEs support the coaching team by helping the wounded, ill and injured athletes become mentally prepared for competition."We've really been getting them to slow down and be aware of their thoughts. Once they have that awareness, they are better prepared come competition time and are able to run the race they want to race," said Russ Flaten, an MRT-PE from the CSF2 Training Center at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.Coe, who has always enjoyed physical activity, especially running and playing basketball, knows the important role your mind plays when in competition. "There's a point where you're running and you're going to be exhausted, it's just a mental perspective. You have to relax and keep going," he said.Sleep and nutrition, two of the three components of the Performance Triad (the third is physical activity) are also emphasized throughout the Army Trials."These athletes are out of their typical routine. They're facing time-zone changes, they are sharing accommodations with people, their energy levels are up, and they're excited. On day one, they need create a routine, stick to that plan and be as consistent as possible," said Audrey Lee, the sport nutrition coach working with the track athletes. She offers them tips to improve the amount and quality of their sleep while at the trails, to include having some quiet time, diming the lights, turning off the television and Internet, and playing soothing music about an hour before sleep time.Lee also helps the athletes with their nutrition."Nutrition is key. Performance is training and recovery, and nutrition is a component of them all. It helps you be a stronger, better, faster athlete overall," Lee said.Lee tells the athletes to prepare for their nutrition the same way they prepare for training. "Just like your training, you have your gear and your shoes; also pack all the nutrition you need, your snacks and drinks for during and after, and have a plan for lunch. Go out and shop and get what you need so that your needs are met," she said.The purpose of the Performance Triad is for individuals to make better choices in the "lifespace", or time that isn't spent with a healthcare provider. The Performance Triad is about getting quality sleep, engaging in activity, and improving nutrition.Coe considers all of these areas before going out for a race. "I try to eat healthy. Sleep and eating well are very important. For anything you want to do, you want to be well-rested, you don't want to come in tired. You don't want to eat anything greasy or unhealthy right before a track meet, that's just setting you up for failure," he said.The day before the track competition, the athletes have a "Shake Down Day" to focus on starts and mental imagery, or visualizing what their race is going to look like. They also do a lot of stretching to release muscle tension, rehash race strategy, and focus on relaxation.Lee also provides yoga to the athletes."Yoga helps the athletes find some stillness despite distractions," Lee said. "If they're not prepared for all the distractions that come with competition, like all the teams, noise, cameras, etc, that can throw off their entire performance. Being in tune with their own breath and being in tune with their own self will help give them that stillness."Howard sees this stillness as an important element of race day. "I try to get them dialed in and focused on pacing. They need to have a relaxed and neutral run position; I don't want them to be tense and tight, I want them to be relaxed," he said.Even though all of these coaches are on-hand to support the athletes throughout the Army Trials and even into the Department of Defense Warrior Games 2015 scheduled for June at Quantico, Virginia, the athletes ultimately have control over their performance."There are so many variables, it's hard to pinpoint one particular variable that may cause a challenge, so we talk to them about how much sleep they should be getting, what they should be eating, what their pre- and post-routing should be. I can only control certain variables and provide certain information, but ultimately they're in control," said Howard.Coe's track teammates have also embraced the idea of "finding your apple" come race day."The apple is that mental cue to run the race you want and to not get distracted," Flaten said. "Whether it's losing focus on the technique needed, nerves, or the distraction of competition, 'finding your apple' is really about finding your cue, finding your motto of where you want to be."Coe has his motto down. He says he intends to think about the apple throughout the entire competition. "From the time I line up, that apple's in my mind. If I win, I get the apple, if I lose, I get the apple, but if I quit, I don't get the apple. So, all throughout I'm thinking about the apple, that's my reward."