Even though it’s not fall (yet!) in Florida, there’s no doubt that peak fall racing season is almost upon us!
Several of the athletes I coach will be toeing the line of their goal races soon.
For many, the lead up to a goal race is a super exciting time. But it can also be a bit nerve-wracking for even the most level-headed runner.
The nearer you get to race day, and the deeper you get into the taper, things have a way of getting even tenser!
Just Relax (As if It’s That Easy!)
One of the things I tell all of my athletes just before their race is to relax and have fun.
Admittedly, it’s not often that easy. Especially for those of us that are a bit more Type A.
While telling someone that is a bit stressed/anxious about a race to simply relax probably won’t have much of an effect, in large part because it’s so vague.
Just relax? How?
Well, I have a few suggestions.
If you find yourself wound a little tight leading into a race this fall, or any time of year for that matter, here are some specific things you can do to give yourself a bit more confidence before the gun goes off at the start of the race.
Trust Your Training
You have been training consistently, right?
Don’t worry about the run or two that you missed or that didn’t go absolutely perfectly.
You’re going to be fine.
As long as you’ve been building toward the race you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be physically ready.
You are ready.
Remember the Taper, and Keep It Holy
The taper is important. Vitally important.
Resist the urge to run more during the taper when you should be running less!
Not many runners enjoy the taper because of the cutback in mileage and the worry that you might lose some of the fitness you’ve been working hard to build over the past several months of training.
The fact that matter is that you’re not going to lose your fitness by taking an extra few rest days leading up to your race.
Instead, your legs are going to be fresher than they have been in months, and that is going to help you get after it during your race!
Focus on the Things You Can Control
When it comes to nailing your race day goal, there are no shortage of variables at play.
And a lot of those variables are beyond your control.
You can’t control the weather. You can’t control what time the race starts. Neither can you control the actions of other runners or the layout of the course.
Yet when standing around waiting for a race to start, I’ve heard runners bitch and moan about these factors more often than I can count!
I have no doubt that in several of those instances, those runners were “defeated” before the race started because of things that they simply could not control.
The weather is going to be what it is. And no amount of complaining is going to change it. Same is true for the time the race starts, what other runners do, and how many hills or 90* turns have to be navigated.
Instead of dwelling on those things, focus your attention on the things over which you have control.
Executing your plan. Listening to your body. Making good choices.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
This one might sting a bit, but it needs to be said.
In the grand scheme of your life, your results from this race don’t matter.
Whether you run a PR or you DNF, life is going to continue after this race.
If the results don’t matter, and they really don’t, then why not just relax and enjoy the process?
And not for nothing, but if you’re able to relax a bit odds are that you’ll actually run a bit better.
And that is the goal, right?
Race Day Matters, But It’s Not Everything
I’m not trying to get you to think of race day as just another run.
Races are exciting. They are special. And they are a fun way to deviate from the usual routine.
And I’m not trying to tell you to not care about your performance.
I hope you have big goals and that you push yourself and do the best you possibly can.
But if you find yourself getting too worked up, hopefully, these reminders will help you relax a little bit and have some fun on race day.
How Do You Keep Yourself from Getting Wound Too Tightly as Race Day Approaches?
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