I don’t know about you, but I have had my fair share of race-day nerves over the years. I absolutely love races. But I do tend to get nervous and doubt myself in the days leading up to the race.
Here are a few things that I do to help with the anxiety that may come along with a race.
The more races that I run, the less I deal with stress and anxiety. With each race that I run, I learn more about what works for me and how to execute a plan. With each race experience, the less I end up worrying about it. We learn with each race that we are capable of so much. That helps us in the future to doubt ourselves less and less!
Be prepared! I love to organize EVERYTHING that I know I will need for my race at least a few days before. This helps to relieve some of the stress because I love knowing that my gear/fuel/clothing is all ready to go. By being prepared in advance, I can double or even triple check that I am not forgetting anything. That helps me big time with some of my race nerves!
Look over your training journal (or make sure to have one of these in the first place). During race week, look over your previous workouts and long runs that you did over the last few months. This always helps me to build confidence in myself because I remember the tough workouts that I pushed through. It helps me to realize I am going to be just fine on race day!
Let go of the things that you can’t control! There is nothing that you can do about the weather, the start time of the race or if the route is changed last minute. Prepare for things as much as possible. But some things we have no control over and we just have to roll with the punches.
Work on your mental game! We tend to forget about how much of racing and running is mental. If you are positive with yourself and expect great things versus being negative about your running abilities, you are much more likely to succeed! My personal records always happen after a week of being my own biggest cheerleader and visualizing myself doing well in the race. I recommend Mind Gym to help you with your mental game!
Remember that your friends and family will love you no matter what happens during your race. If you don’t reach your goals or you have a bad day, it is okay! The people in your life that care about you will love you and cheer you on no matter what the time on the clock says.
A little bit of anxiety and nervousness can be good for your performance. Some extra adrenaline floating through your bloodstream may help to push you to do awesome during your race! Use the race day nerves to your advantage.