Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Race Day Nerves

Big events have a tendency to bring out the best in people...and also their nerves. Anxiety, nervousness, butterfly's in the stomach, feelings of doubt, etc. It happens to the best of us and it can take it's toll on the runner. You toe the start line and the only thing running through your head, 'I don't know if I can do this,' 'Why did I sign up?' 'I'm never doing this again.' The whole time this mental battle is waging inside you're missing the guy wearing a pink tutu prance by in the brightest colored running shoes in the race. And when every one asks, 'Did you see that?' you snap out of your mind-race and realize you're missing out on what the start of the race has to offer: excitement, amusement, and a break from everything you usually do at 6:00 AM. Here are some tips for easing and accepting the nervousness of race day:

Trust your training.

This may be one of the toughest realities to cope with, but think back through all of your training and relish on all of the milestones you've accomplished at this point. The biggest being that you signed up months ago and now you're about to make the final push in accomplishing your goal. Confidence in your training will not only ease your race day anxiety, but it'll allow you to race better, too.

Make an effort to enjoy the race day excitement.

There will be runners dressed for success and runners dressed for show, both are amusing to watch. Not only will there be runners dressed to impress, the fans will be, too. It's easy to let yourself fall into tunnel-vision and miss out on the craziness, but take a moment when you're feeling the most nervous to take a deep breath and look around.

Don't get caught up in the number game.

You're out on the course and you realize that you're either ahead or behind of your 'goal' pace and you start getting really nervous that somehow you've messed the entire run up. Relax. So, you're not going according to plan, big deal. Part of running is about adapting to your circumstances. This could be adjusting to a slower pace, a faster pace, talking with a runner you've never met before, giving high-fives to every volunteer at the water/aid stations, etc., The point is, you didn't have any of this in your training, so now is the time to enjoy the running masses and the race for its entertainment, it's not the time for fretting over not being in line with the original plan.

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