New here? Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly updates on local events, training tips, and a dose of motivation. From time to time we use affiliate links in our content and may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in our posts.
Running coach, Marty Beene, has encouraged us to go ahead and be nervous! Learn how to transform your race day nerves into positive energy that will propel you through to the finish line.
Let the Jitters Begin
The most important thing to remember regarding race-related nerves is that you actually need them to do well! When you feel nervous, that is simply your body producing and releasing adrenaline into your system – it’s the same thing that happens in any number of “exciting” situations. You need adrenaline to do well in a race – if your body isn’t producing any adrenaline, you’ll just drag yourself along the course at a snail’s pace. Even if you don’t really care about your time, that’s just not as much fun as being excited about bouncing along the course and bursting across the finish line with your arms raised in triumph.
But you can over-do the whole nerves thing if you start to obsess over all of the details of an upcoming race, and end up exhausted by race time. Here’s what I recommend:
1. Starting about a week or so before the race, do some visualizations of the race, including all of the preparation, such as waking up, eating whatever you eat, driving to the course, etc. Imagine both your ideal scenario, as well as some likely things that might go wrong. During your visualization, calmly deal with any problems that you might think up – this will comfort you by knowing (on race day) that you already thought of “that,” whatever “that” is.
(Learn more about visualization in this POST ON MARTY’S BLOG.)
2. Remind yourself that you are feeling nervous about your race because you care about the outcome. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t feel anything.
3. Think about this: even the best runners get nervous before a race. For them, it might mean the difference between a huge prize money payout or nothing, or maybe a spot on their country’s Olympic team. For you, there is some goal you want to accomplish, which is obviously important to you, or you wouldn’t be nervous (see #2 above).
4. When you are at the starting line, make a commitment that you are going to turn the adrenaline causing the nerves into adrenaline to use for the race. Turn the nervous energy into excitement energy.
5. Trust that once the race starts, those nerves will go away. This might be hard to do, but it really will happen. When it does, be sure to remember that the nerves went away so you can believe this more the next time.
How have you been able to transform your race day nerves into positive energy?
Get more stuff like this
Receive running tips and a dose of motivation right to your inbox! We'll send you a weekly email filled with tips, tools, gear, & encouragement.
You're almost done! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription.
Something went wrong.