Wednesday, March 9, 2016

It is happening again… The pre-race jitters!

For some reason it does not matter if I am running a three mile race or a 13.1 mile race. I seriously get a bit wigged out before a race! I cannot be sure if it is nerves, anxiety or really amped up excitement. The symptoms are all the same.

My Symptoms:

I begin to notice all the ways in which my body hurts and thus may not be capable of completing the race.

My stomach starts to hurt and by hurt I mean gurgle, churn and tie up in knots.

My heart begins to race anytime I say the word race.

My heart begins to race anytime I think the word race.

My heart begins to race anytime I try not to think or say the word race.

My stomach hurts some more.

My brain goes a little foggy and I realize I have forgotten all the race day details I have to know so that I show up where I am supposed to at the right time.

I experience shortness of breath when I begin to think the word race again.

I have serious trouble sleeping the night before the race.

I begin to worry something will go wrong. Do I even have running shoes??

The list goes on an on.

Oh my oh my oh my…

Over the last couple of years I have identified a few things that help me get past all this.

  1. Deep belly breaths. This is a sure fire way to get my heart palpitations in check. I take a second and take a few deep breaths filling up my tummy as I inhale.
  2. I remind myself that I have trained for this race, I have run this same distance before and I am ready. I have no need to be worried I won’t be able to run it. It is a long run on a weekend just like every other long run. It’s just that this long run is with thousands of my friends!
  3. I do not change up my nutritional routine in the days leading up to my race. I will have a fun pre-race meal the night before a big race but I make sure to eat something that I would normally eat so I don’t end up with real stomach troubles on race day. Race morning I treat just like any other long run morning and fuel in exactly the same way. Do not make any big changes the day before or morning of a race. 
  4. I make sure I have my gear, clothing, etc. planned and ready the week leading up to the race. I know what I will wear and what I plan to carry with me. I do double check and then re-check my race bag especially if I am traveling just to be sure I haven’t forgotten anything. 
  5. I also try to imagine the race, if it is a new race route, I will visualize the starting line, all the people and imagine my self-running from start to finish.  Recalling past races and how yes I was anxious in the days leading up to the race and even the morning of but how actually once I was there in that amazing crowd of fellow runners I was calmed and then so happy to finish! If it were really that bad I would have never signed up for a race again right? Races are great! So much fun! Remember where you have been and look forward to where you are going!
  6. I also try to remember the mantra “Run your own race”

There, now I already feel much better :)

Race day is this coming Saturday and I really am super excited! I can't wait to share my race recap! I hope if you are running an upcoming race you find these tips helpful, they sure do work for me!

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