Race day is coming up soon. How do you feel? How has your training been?
Being a little nervous before a race is totally normal. It also shows you care about your performance and have put in a lot of training to prepare. There is a fine line, however, between normal nervousness and letting anxiety get to you.
There will be things that you can’t control, and things you can. Focus on what you CAN control, and forget the stuff you can’t.
There have been a number of races where I thought I was planned, prepped and, ready to go. I’d had an vision in my head of how the morning of the race would go – when inevitably something would trip me up. It seems like it is more the norm than not….something always goes wrong! Have a plan B.
Dead iPod, forgot my race number, couldn’t find parking, hot weather, cold weather, alarm didn’t go off and had to scramble, didn’t plan my fuel correctly, didn’t bring my fuel, didn’t get any sleep because I was camping the night before, couldn’t find my bike helmet (for triathlon), faced MASSIVE waves (also during triathlon), watch/hrm battery died, got a flat tire, tummy issues ….and many more deal breakers that are just too painful to recall. Luckily these weren’t all at the same race.
What you can’t control:
what time the race starts
the race logistics
the other runners
So don’t let yourself get worked up if something is not going how you envisioned it being. You gotta go with the flow.
What you can control:
Your stuff Get your gear together a couple days before the race. Racing bib, timing chip, shoes, socks, an outfit (that you know is comfortable and you’ve worn and tried out on a long run), post run clothes and shoes, fuel like electrolytes & gels (again – that you’ve tried and know work for you with out stomach problems), water bottles, something to wear pre-run when it's chilly, post run replenishment drinks, and a little cash isn't a bad idea.
Your race plan Learn as much as you can about the race. The course, where the water & restrooms will be, where to meet your family or friends after the race, weather predictions and conditions. Then plan accordingly.
Getting there Plan ahead for travel time, parking, etc and then give yourself at least an extra half hour on top of that. When I ran the LA marathon, I took a shuttle bus to get to the race. I had forgotten my race number back at the hotel, and didn't realize it until I was getting on the bus. I had to run ALL the way back to the hotel, wake everyone in my room up, then run back to the bus. Got an extra little warm up run in that morning…and my roommates were NOT happy.
Mental preparation Use mantras and positive self talk. “I am healthy, I am strong, I can breathe” got me through a particularly difficult swim in a race I almost didn’t even start due to some asthma issues. I know I wouldn’t have made it, had I not held strongly to this particular mantra. Some others that I’ve heard: ‘stay strong’, ‘finish strong’, ‘the hills are my friend’, ‘run Forest, run’. Stay positive! It’s the most important thing you can do.
It’s all in the attitude! You can do it!