For races, that is. 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, full marathons, ultras; they are popping up in your email inbox and flooding your feed on Facebook. Signing up for and then training for a race is hard work so don’t blow all that prep by messing up on race day.
Here are some tips!
- Plan your gear. That includes what you’ll wear (nothing new), what you’ll eat (nothing new) and what you’ll drink (nothing new). See a trend? Stick with what you know works because then there are no surprises to deal with on the course.
- Trust your training. Sure there will be pre-race jitters but if you’ve logged a 20 mile run, or an 18 miles run your body will be able to cover the distance. Hell, I even ran my first marathon topping out at 16 miles. It wasn’t pretty but I crossed that finish line, got a tee shirt, a medal and as many bagels and bananas I could eat at the end. 🙂
- Got music? Load up on your fav, inspiring music, download podcasts or audio books and most importantly, make sure your device is fully charged. I bring music with me on my marathons but try and hold off listening until the last few miles when I’m just trying to distract myself. Except in Vancouver when I plugged in at mile eight. A true sign that doing a Ragnar three weeks prior was ill-advised. #dummy
- Plan for tough times. Hate to break it to you but if you’re running 26.2 miles you will have some sucky miles. And this can bring about doubt, anxiety, phantom and/or real aches or even panic. Having strategies in place will be key. KEY.
Count your steps to 10. And again. Repeat until you have calmed down.
Have some sugar. The muscles use their glycogen stores for energy and the brain is fed from the blood supply. So if you are having negative and self-defeating thoughts try some Gu or Sport beans and see if once that sugar hits the bloodstream you feel better. (I have to credit a recent Another Mother Runner podcast for this tip – brilliant!)
Bring it in. If your thoughts are still all over the place try this.
Imagine all of your negative thoughts are in a large bubble around you. Take your arms wide to gather the bubble and bring it in front of you, clap your hands together and pop the bubble. Now you can just run. Nothing holding you back or distracting you.
Mile by mile. Focus on getting to the next mile marker. Then the next, etc.
- Don’t mistake soreness for pain. Your body may start to ache during a race and yes, even things that have never hurt before announce their presence. Most of this is just because you’re on your feet for so long but if you have a sharp or sudden pain, it’s best to practice common sense and stop and pop in to a medical tent.
- Celebrate every mile you pass. When I’m running a marathon I touch the mile marker signs as I pass by. Some people take selfies. Whatever works for you!
- Count up to the halfway point then back down. Saying you have 3 miles left in a half marathon or 6 miles left in a full is much better than saying you’re at mile 10 or mile 20. Remember how your brain likes to mess with you? Think little numbers at this point because you know you can do 3 or 6 miles and it feels awesome to see those numbers drop.
Most importantly is to remember that even with the best training and preparation you may not have a good race.
But in the whole scheme of things it’s just another long run and as long as you gave it your best, that’s all that matters. And the medal, tee shirt and free beer rocks. I mean, let’s get our priorities straight.
Now go run!