By Charlotte Powers
Race week is here! Cue all the nerves and jitters. It’s completely normal to be nervous. I have stood at a lot of start lines from 5Ks to 50 milers, and I have never not been nervous. Being nervous means that you care, that you respect the distance, and that you are about to do something really freaking awesome.
This week you need to do a few short, easy runs or walks. I have found that these runs help release some nervous tension and give me some confidence I had lost during bad runs in this training block. During these runs, picture your race in your head. Only positive thoughts allowed. Picture yourself running strong and confidently. Think about coming down that hill to the finish line. Also think back on how very far you have come. Make sure you are stretching afterward, and hydrating.
Tap into some meditations throughout the week. YouTube has a treasure trove of free ones, and you can search for ones focused on confidence, fitness goals, calming, and energizing. Most are short, and you will feel more grounded afterward, I promise.
The biggest things that I have seen people get worked up about prior to and on race day is stuff that they cannot control. When you do this, you are wasting valuable energy and, in the end, everything is the same, worry or not. However, you can control how you react, as well as your attitude. Know that things may not go exactly like they did in training, and that you are not the only person out there who has weird chafing, or stomach issues. When I am struggling, I find switching my focus from myself, to cheering on the runners around me immediately improves my mood, and my running.
Thursday night, get the most sleep that you can. Chances are you won’t sleep a lot the night before the race, so this is your chance to give your body the rest it needs. We always love sharing our crazy race dreams on race morning. Once I dreamed I had to run in my pajamas and no shoes!
Since most of us are traveling for the race of our choice, I recommend laying out a flat “you” by Wednesday of race week. I do this for a few reasons: 1. It gives you time to order something that you may be missing. 2. It starts to get your really hyped for what adventure you are about to go on and 3. Now you can fold everything up and pack it into your suitcase. Once you get to your destination, lay out the same flat you again. You should have everything you need, but if the weather has changed or you aren’t feeling something you have the afternoon/evening to make alternate plans.
A few other ideas:
Have a hype song to listen to before the race starts. Dance out your nervous energy. Use this song during the race when you need a little lift.
Don’t change your pre-race dinner/breakfast just because you are traveling.
Take in every single moment. The good and the bad. You only get to experience your first one time.
Cheer on each other, not just RunAbout people, but everyone. You never know what a kind word can mean to a fellow runner. On that note, also thank the volunteers!
I could tell you all the cliché things, but anyone can tell you those. What I want to tell you is that I am so very proud of every single one of you. It takes an insane amount of courage to train for a new distance, and it takes even more to line up at that start line. Every single one of you is a winner in my book, and I cannot wait to see you come down that hill.