If you’ve run enough races, and run them with a specific time goal in mind, you may have felt unprepared before a race began.
Lord knows I’ve don’t that more than a few times.
How does this happen? But more importantly, when you are feeling unprepared before a race how do you react when the race starts?
Turning Lemons Into Lemonade
I’ve headed to the starting line feeling completely unprepared too many times, yet I’ve been able to run some great times (for me) at those same events.
So what gives?
How can you convince yourself to still run, and potentially run very well, when you’re feeling unprepared before the start of a race.
Here are a few things that I have reminded myself of pre-race:
- We Sell Ourselves Short: It’s easy to see all the reasons that we aren’t ready for a particular race, but much harder to see all of the good work we’ve done and accepting that we did enough. You might feel unprepared before a race, but if you’ve been training consistently you’re prepared. Get to the start line, and go.
- Give Yourself a Chance: Walking to the starting line with a goal to PR is tough, because you’re trying to do something that you’ve never done before. It’s easy to feel unprepared when we don’t know exactly how to be prepared for something. If this is the case for you, instead of feeling unprepared before a race and potentially afraid of the unknowns, give yourself permission to start the race and see what happens. To run a certain time, you probably know what your average pace needs to be based on the distance you’re running. So start out at that pace, and see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.
- Shift Your Goals: And if you’re not surprised, nothing says you can’t shift your focus to a different goal. And you can even do that before the race begins if know for sure you’re not prepared. Instead of aiming for a PR, try to run a negative split. Or decide to make as many new friends as possible by talking to other runners along the way. Or just turn your watch off and run for fun. Or simply focus on getting to the end, getting your bling, and having a beer. Just don’t worry about being unprepared because that’s only going to make things worse.
At the end of the day, feeling unprepared before a race happens to just about everyone from time to time.
Press play below to hear me talk about a few examples from my past where I’ve definitely been less than prepared for the start of a race!