By Stephanie Jameson - You’ve got your training, recovery, and nutrition plan down. You’re getting faster, feeling stronger, and beginning to think this next race may hold a personal record for you!
If you’ve run any sort of long distance, you understand that being physically prepared is only half of the battle. What goes on inside your head has just as much to do with your race day success as what goes on with your body.
Here are three tips to help you stay in a winning mindset and cross the finish line faster than you ever have before!
Visualize the Difficult Portions of the Race (And How You Will Overcome Them)
While you’ll often hear the advice to picture yourself after a successfully run race, it’s equally
important to remember that there will be tough portions of your race and be prepared to
Picture what could be the most challenging portions of the race for you: it may be the first two miles, when nerves and excitement are pulsing through your body and you’ll have to force yourself to slow down, pace yourself, and breathe slowly. It may be when you’re
more than halfway through the race, the excitement is wearing off, and the physical discomfort is starting to settle in. It could possibly be the final three miles, when you are so close (yet so far) from that finish line and your legs would rather be doing anything other than racing right now.
As you picture the toughest part of the race, breathe slowly and evenly, remind yourself
that you’ve trained for this and this physical discomfort is only temporary.
Pick a Mantra
An amazing tool to keep yourself motivated on a long training run or during your race is to
repeat a mantra you select beforehand.
This mantra can be simple or complex, but it should be a statement that encourages you to keep going. Something as simple as, “I am strong, prepared, and capable of setting a personal record today”, can make you feel very powerful as your legs get tired.
Repeat your mantra over and over in your head when the run becomes challenging.
Practice using it on long runs and see if you can turn the repetition into a form of meditation to get yourself away from focusing on any unpleasant sensations in your body.
Treat Running Like a Team Sport
One of the best things you can do on race day is remember that you aren’t doing this alone!
A lot of other people also woke up early, laced up their running shoes, and decided to tackle the course.
Make sure to get outside of yourself and be inspired by those around you. Race day atmosphere is really something special - from the supporters that come out with signs to cheer everyone on, to the kind runners you come across that are ready with an encouraging word or high five.
Soak up this positive energy and allow it to propel your forward. Hand out some high
fives of your own, and remember to enjoy this day that you’ve trained so hard for.
The amazing thing about mindset is that it gets easier the more you work on it.
Practice these three tactics on your training runs, and come race day they’ll be as much a part of your running as your perfected stride. Finally, after you’ve crossed that finish line, make sure to celebrate that PR!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Stephanie! I’m a runner, triathlete, and owner of giveStrength - a corporate wellness company. I hold a certificate in plant based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University, as well as a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
I coach runners, triathletes, and anyone else that needs help to feel stronger, eat better, and feel confident in their body.
Follow my journey @giveasweat.