Sometimes you follow your training plan to the letter and you are feeling good, but race day comes, and it just doesn’t come together. Maybe you run out of gas before the finish because you started out too fast, or you just didn’t feel confident in your own abilities. We have all (or at least MOST of us) had a race that we wish we could have done over. No matter how hard you train physically, there is most definitely a strong mental component to racing.
- Visualization— Using visualization is a tried and true method for success in running, sports, and so many other activities. In fact, professional athletes and Olympians use visualization regularly. By “watching” your ideal race in your head, you train your brain to fulfill that vision and run your goal race.
- Relax Your Mind Race Day Morning— While adrenaline and some race day nerves can give you a little pep in your step, they can also psych you out. Anxiety can get the better of you, and when your mind is really tense, your body will follow. Trust your training and take a deep breath before the start of the race. Running relaxed will actually help your form and hopefully help you run a better race!
- Positive Self Talk— Give yourself a pep talk before the race. Have you ever had a really good coach? What did he/she say to you to get you psyched up for a big game? If it worked, have a similar conversation with yourself. Rather than focusing on self-doubt, tell yourself to trust your training and that “You got this!” 🙂
- Set the Right Goals— Part of being confident at the start of a race is having the right goal. You want to be hungry for your goal, but you also want to make sure that it’s not completely unrealistic. If you run a 10:00 minute mile, you don’t want to start a half marathon hoping to run a 1:25!
- Focus— Try to tune out all of the other noise around you and keep your eyes on the prize. Having a specific focus will help you use your physical and mental energy to reach your goal, rather than spending it worrying about things that aren’t important on race morning.
How do you stay mentally tough when you’re racing?