Thursday, May 12, 2016

Five Ways to Deal with Pre-Race Anxiety

Do things get wonky for you during the week leading up to a race? I don't really get nervous for races, or suffer from the "taper tantrums." In fact, I love the taper period. I get to reduce my mileage big time and not feel guilty about it! Most of my races now are training runs, which means the races I do actually taper for are big ones. The one this weekend is the PCT 50 and even though this is my second go at this race, I feel nervous. This will be my third 50-miler and I have to say that I still don't feel 100% comfortable with the distance. It's a long way! And there are mountains! Yikes!

Before I go on, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run. Be sure to show them some love! I'm also linking up with Angela over at Happy Fit Mama for her Hive Five Friday link up. It's my first time linking with her, so be sure to send her some love!!

I was thinking about this week and things I have learned over the years to keep my nervousness under control. I thought I'd share mine here and hopefully you can add yours in the comments! Here are my top fives ways to keep my pre-race anxiety under control:

1. Stay on top of the things you can control and let go of the things you can't. Stay hydrated, eat well, get sleep, etc. Don't worry about the weather but prepare for it accordingly. I also try to prepare as much as possible in the days/nights before the race. This means my race outfit, overnight bag, my drop bag, my shoes, hydration vest, food for before and during the race, etc. Getting as much taken care of before the night before the race helps me feel in control and more ready for race day rather than scrambling to get it all done at the last minute.

2. Since I'm tapering, I'm not running as much in this last week. It's important for me to honor this reduction in mileage in order to feel rested on race day, but when running is your way to relieve stress, tapering isn't always fun. I try to find other, low-to-no-impact ways to be active so I can still relax while staying true to my taper. I walk it out a LOT in the last week. I take my dog for extra walks, which helps and he enjoys. The yoga challenge I'm doing this May is also helping, thankfully.

3. It may sound dorky, but I use visualization a lot in the week before the race. It can really help set my nerves at ease. I think about all my steps on race morning -- waking up, getting dressed, going through my pre-run routine, riding to the site, running a nice, easy, steady pace during the race, crossing the finish line and returning home. I try to be as specific as possible and since I've done the race before, I'm really able to see everything. Doing this helps to calm me down because when I get to the race start, it feels like I've already gone through the motions and I feel more ready.

4. I fill my non-running time with distractions - Netflix, reading, whatever. I started watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and it's pretty hilarious. And there are plenty of ridiculous Real Housewives to mindlessly help pass the time :)

5. Last, but not least, I trust in my training. Sure, there are days I could have run longer or harder but if I focus on what I didn't do in my training, I'd flip out in the final week. Instead, I focus on the great runs, the long runs we did in the mountains, the strength training, etc., and I feel better knowing I did the best I could this go-around. It is what it is. You can't cram months and months of training in the final week. So I need to focus on what I did do and trust that it is enough for the race.

Do you get nervous before a race? How do you deal with pre-race jitters?

14 comments:

  1. Since I'm traveling before goal races, I'm always super busy. Doesn't leave a lot of time for nervousness. We took our dog this time, but taking care of her mostly falls to me -- I guess it's a distraction.

    I'd like to whine about the weather, though. We left wed; the race is tomorrow. When we left, the forecast was for light rain & a high of 59 on race day. And now it's sunny with a high of 74! I am hoping that feels a LOT cooler with of ocean breezes as obviously that's not what I packed for.

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    1. I'd be mad about the weather too. Are you able to pick up some lighter items at the race expo or anything? Good luck with your race!

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  2. I think number 1 is super key - you can't waste energy worrying about the weather. Well you can - but you shouldn't!

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    1. Exactly! I try to prepare for the weather predictions and always have a back up plan!

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  3. I can't wait for you both to kick butt this weekend and be there to record it all!

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    1. I will so my best to kick butt! But not falling off the mountain will be good enough :)

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  4. I think trusting in your training is key. I had such a good training cycle for my last marathon that I was just so full of excitement to "get that party started" so to speak. No room for jitters. Perhaps if I was doing a "new to me" race, I would feel more jittery.

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    1. That's awesome!! It's great when everything comes together and you're ready to tear things up on race day!!

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  5. Excellent tips! I usually stalk the weather the week leading up to the race. I just like to know what I'm getting into. Although if it's a marathon and I'm running, there's a 99% chance that it will be raining and windy. Lol! Thanks for linking up to High 5 Friday!

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    1. A marathon in the rain is definitely no fun! Thanks for hosting the link up! It's been fun!

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  6. I do get taper crazies before a marathon, not because I don't feel prepared, but because it's the week before the marathon! I'm an anxious person to begin with, so there you go. But I have found that the more I've raced, the less nervous I get.

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    1. I think the more I use races as training runs, the less nervous I get too. Theres a lot less pressure, that's for sure!

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  7. I usually keep a low profile before a race so I don't hear other people's jitters, which gets me going on a anxiety trip.

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    1. Yes! It's like when I was in college and I would hear everyone's complaints before a test! It would freak me out that I didn't study enough. Ugh!

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