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I am guilty of getting stuck in my own head where fear and doubt can overcome me. The best way to get me to procrastinate is to overwhelm me with worry that I won’t succeed. And that’s the exact belief I need to avoid during my long distance training.
It’s a good thing I have already decided to run anyway. (Funny thing… the more I run, the less of my own noise I hear.)
Use the following tips from our expert to help you set your fears aside and be able to run with confidence.
Tips to Help You Believe & Achieve
For many runners, the thought of toeing the line for a marathon (half OR full) is a daunting and scary thought. In actuality, completing the race is almost as draining mentally as it is physically. But the feeling of euphoria you will have upon completing the race will completely erase any feelings of doubt or trepidation you were feeling before the race. I promise.
Here are 3 keys to staying out of your head leading up to and during your race:
1. Set realistic expectations for yourself.
It’s fine to aim for a specific time goal, just make it realistic. Don’t expect to be able to run your 5k pace for 13.1 or 26.2. Personally, I like to set 3 time goals when I run. One is almost too fast, but in a perfect race may be achievable. The second is a reasonable goal, something that is fast but I feel is completely doable without a Herculean effort. And the last is kind of my worst case scenario time goal, where I’d be a little disappointed of my time, but would still be an solid performance. There is nothing worse than setting too lofty of a goal, and realizing with 10+ miles to go you don’t have a chance. Keep your goals realistic and your brain won’t bail out on you.
1A. (Equally important to the first tip) Trust your training.
You have been training, right? As long as you have followed a sensible training plan (and there are literally thousands available on-line) you have the endurance necessary to complete the race. And you should also have a good idea of the pace you need to run. So trust in your training and you’ll be fine during the race.
3. Accept what you can’t control.
If distance running was easy, everyone would do it. On race day, things will happen. Your knees may hurt. You may get frustrated by the guy that stops to walk right in front of you. But you are accomplishing something a lot of people don’t even dream of doing. And at the end of the day, if you miss your goal time or didn’t train properly, who cares. You will finish the race, and no one can ever take that away from you.
During the worst race I ever ran, about a mile from the finish line a woman in a wheel chair had a sign that read “I am so proud of YOU!” I thanked her with tears running down my face, and finished my race. My time was bad, but I finished. And that is what mattered most.
Honorable Mention–As the race approaches, relax. I promise, you won’t be the slowest runner. No one will laugh if you stop to walk. Runners are nice people, and they will encourage you out there on the course. You can do this. Now, get out of your head and go run a race.
What techniques do you use to stay out of your head and into your long distance training?
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