It’s not a secret that I like to race a lot. In fact, I’ve written posts about how to “race well,” or even “racing my way to fitness”. It works well for me as I typically train very easy throughout the week.
Since I race so frequently, racing doesn’t make me as nervous anymore. I get more nervous before a workout than I do before a race. Thinking out loud, I suppose that has come with both time and just racing a lot.
A few weeks ago, a reader asked me how I beat race nerves and if I would be open to writing a post about it.
The short answer is: race until you’re not as nervous anymore.
I’m sure you wanted the long answer though.
Here are a few strategies I use to Beat Race Day Nerves:
Before the Race:
This is more something to do before the actual race. The day before I plan to race (if I plan too), I like to visualize goals and success. It’s actually something I picked up in collegiate swimming. Running is 90% mental, and if you believe you’ll do well, you’ve already won most of the battle.
Look Back at Your Training Logs:
Look at those workouts you didn’t think you would crush but you did. This is motivational for bigger races, when you are tapering, or bored. There is always “that run” during a training cycle that you didn’t think you’d make it through but you did. Remember that one, versus the ones that you didn’t feel great during.
At the Race:
For some people that are listening to music, for others (like me), that is talking nonstop until the race starts. If we meet at a race, know that I am 100% cool with chatting up until the gun goes off. Stay distracted and relaxed.
Get Away from the Start Line:
During shorter races such as a 5k, this is easy because I need to warm up. I don’t warm up before half marathons (my top 5 half marathons have had zero warmup…maybe some walking). Getting away from the start line allows you to stay relaxed and not think about it as much.
Races are typically the morning of your day. It’s not more than a few hours of your morning, and when it’s done, you move on. You are still the same person whether you PR or PW (personal worst). Your family, friends, and everyone else still loves you. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the sport that we don’t think about the big picture. Before every race, I just think: good or bad, whatever happens…happens and there is no need to stress about it.
You are still the same person whether you PR or PW (personal worst). Your family, friends, and everyone else still loves you. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the sport that we don’t think about the big picture. Before every race, I just think: good or bad, whatever happens…happens and there is no need to stress about it.
Racing is supposed to be exciting and fun. You should look forward to it not dread it. If you dread it, there is no point in doing it right?
Questions for you:
Do you race a lot?
How do you beat race day (or any day) nerves?