Thursday, February 26, 2015

Got a bad case of the race jitters

If you remember from my post about my ½ marathon last weekend, there were some pre race jitters being experienced. Most notably were the butterflies churning away in my stomach on race morning. Funny how our stomachs seem to display how anxious that we are feeling. I am sure this has a lot to do with our minds’ need to deal with the coming activity. With so much time and energy spent preparing for a specific event and yes, we are more than likely prepared; we still agonize over every “i” being dotted and every “t” being crossed. All the while hoping our training leads us down the most successful path. 

To combat some of this stress, I did two things last Sunday: followed my race routine and refocused my mind.

A prerace routine is as individualized as finger prints. The key for me is to always stay in my comfort zone. I like to be up at least 2 to 3 hours before a race. I like to make sure my clothes and shoes are laid out. If I am driving to a race, I like to be there at least an hour beforehand. Make sure I pick up my bib number and find the rest rooms. Go through my normal warm up progression.  Granted I cannot always follow my routine exactly. Huge races like at Disney, there is just going to be some things that have to be done differently. But still, staying close as to this routine as possible helps keep me from getting overly stressed right before a race.

Refocusing the mind means thinking about something entirely different from the coming race. Sometime, I will take my iPod along and listen to music. Other times I will pull out my phone, open my tune-in app, and listen to sports talk radio. This past weekend I cracked open my Kindle App for the iPad and let myself drift away while reading a novel. Regardless of what the activity is reading, listening, or talking to someone else, by taking way the focus from the race, I then relax which brings down my stress levels.

Ultimately, a relaxed, low stressed runner should be able to perform better.

If you find yourself nervous on race morning, follow your normal routine as much as possible. If time permits, shift the mind to focusing on something else. See if it doesn’t allow you to relax more.
 
Good luck with your training and racing.

 

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

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