How to Beat Race Day Nerves

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:

Visualize:

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:

Stay Distracted:

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.

 

Remember This:

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?

Related Posts:

Who Cares Where You Run?

Care Free Training

How to Bounce Back from a Bad Race

Questions for you:

Do you race a lot?

How do you beat race day (or any day) nerves?

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Training: Recovering and Racing

Most of last week was spent recovering from the Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon.  By Wednesday, my legs felt decent.  Which was great because the rest of my week was filled with longer work days.  Nothing I couldn’t handle though.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 30 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)
Sunday: 6.5-mile tempo run/total miles 14
Total: 44-47

Progression:

Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)
Week 10: 50- 53 miles (13.1 miles workout)

Week 11: 44-47 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)

Easy Runs:

As I mention every week, my easy runs were just that easy.  There was nothing of excitement and most of them were hot and sticky.  You don’t have to be exciting to blog and this is just a classic example.

Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Fastest 5k since April 1st. 18:41 with a progression of splits (6:05, 6:04, 6:01)

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

I’ll have a full recap of the Heroes to Hero Run in the next few days.   On paper, it’s my fastest 5k since coming back from burnout.

To be honest, I never felt good.  On Saturday morning, I woke up exhausted and tired. While running the race, I felt as though I wasn’t getting any more tired but just running and zoned out.  Even before the race, my good friend said: “woah Hollie, you look exhausted and out of it” and I was.  My splits were 6:05, 6:04, 6:01, so it was definitely a nice progression (which almost never happens).

Other than the race, nothing too exciting last week.  This week I’m tapering down for the Runners World Half Marathon Race series.  It will be a busy weekend, and I’ll be racing both the 5k and the 13.1.  I will be honest, that I don’t feel as prepared for the race as I would like but I would rather be undertrained than overtrained.

The festival is a lot of fun and this year, my dad, is running the half which will make it even more enjoyable!

Running Posts from the Week:
Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon
Who Cares Where You Run?
Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

Questions for you:
What was your best workout last week?
How long does it take you to recover from races?

Crawlin Crab Half (1:32.29)

If you look at the time 1:32.29, you might think: “Woah LOLZ, didn’t have a good race”.  But that is far from the truth, last weekend I had one of the most enjoyable races I’ve had in a long time.  One of my personal worsts, but one of my most fun.

So how did I even find myself back home in the Virginia Beach area?

I had completely other plans which changed several times.  My husband got called to go on a trip which canceled plans we had been looking forward too for a long time.  I had the entire weekend off for them, but that is what happens with military life.  Instead of moping around, I thought about various things I could do: fly to Chicago?  Spectate friends? Go through with our original plans without my husband?  Or go see my family, whom I haven’t seen in several months.  Plus, a bonus for that was the J&A Crawlin’ Crab half marathon was that weekend.  J&A races (including Shamrock) are some of my favorite.  I love the atmosphere, the race is always well put together, and despite unfortunate weather for many, I’ve never had a bad experience.  (I’ve run Shamrock 13.1 5X, Wicked 10k, Virginia is For Lovers 14k (no longer exists), Surf and Santa, Harbor Lights) but until last weekend I had never run Crawlin’ Crab.

So with that, I made up my mind that week and drove down.  Since I wasn’t planning to run the Crawlin’ Crab, I wasn’t tapered, in fact, I was at my highest mileage week since before my burnout.

I woke up Sunday morning and went outside.  Immediately, I realized just how hot and humid it was. I added four layers of hair gel, decided to wear as little clothing as possible, and together with dad we left.

We got there around 7 am, and I found good friend Kris.  Kris asked if I wanted to warm up and I didn’t have the heart to tell her: In the 35 half marathons I’ve done…I’ve warmed up for 2.  Plus, when legendary Kris asks you to warm up, you say…ok.  I didn’t have any goals for the race but to use it as long run and get rid of my tan lines.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

We caught up a bit and headed to the race start. At the start of 8 am, the temperature was 75 degrees and 95% humidity.  I had already sweat through my clothes, but you can’t do much at that point.

The race started, and I saw a large pack form ahead of me including Kris.  I gathered it was somewhere between 1:20-1:25 finish time and didn’t think twice about trying to push about holding myself there.  I needed to run my own race.

The first few miles were relatively boring.  I ran each mile just a bit slower than the previous: 6:44, 6:48, 6:50.  I thought my body might be able to work itself into feeling better.  Not just because it was hot, but I also didn’t feel overly good either.  My legs felt zapped of energy. I had already disconnected from time and was just running my own race.  My primary and most important goal was to cross the start and finish line healthy.  Adding a 5k into a week isn’t as big of a deal as a half marathon.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

By mile 4, I was just hot. I was running alone.  I contemplated dropping out, but I didn’t want to do that.  Nothing hurt, I was just tired and hot.  The thought of running 9.1 (yes that .1 haunted me), was overwhelming.  Never the less, I started thinking about the race in smaller chunks.  I told myself: Think about making it to the halfway point.  By the time I knew it, I was approaching the halfway point.  I saw the relay exchange and my friend Jess was getting ready.  She said good job.

I grabbed both water and Gatorade at every stop during the race.  Even with the heat, there were plenty of stops, and the volunteers were lively about it.

Around mile 7 we ran along the water.  To be honest, I was hoping we would get a tailwind.  I had contemplated the options: headwind would cool you off, but tailwind would push you forward.  Ultimately, it was a headwind, and my miles crept up at 7:19 and 7:21.  I’ve run hot marathon miles faster, but I wasn’t sad or upset.  No one controls the weather, and you have to run the mile you’re in.

All of a sudden I heard a familiar DJ on the course and it was Jon L.  Jon was actually my wedding DJ, as well as a fast local runner, and friend.  We exchanged a few words and continued on.

After getting off the water, I saw the race director, Jerry on the golf cart patrolling the race and cheering for runners.  He said: glad to see you back in VA, and it really put a smile on my face.

Around mile 10, my good friend Andrew caught up and blew by me like I was standing still.  It was nice to have someone to chat too for a second because I had been running most of the race alone.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

For the last three miles, I focused on finishing.  I was counting down the seconds because it was hot, humid, and only getting hotter.  I divided into running 2X1.5 miles.  My first goal was to make it to 11.5.  During mile 11, there were crab joke posters which kept my mind occupied.  I’m always up for puns and kept myself occupied with that.

Finally, I saw mile 12.  One more mile.  I can do that.  I can run up the overpass and bring myself home to the shoot.  Suddenly, as if I hadn’t raced, I found myself with a surge of energy, and I just charged.  Then around 12.2, I realized…woah too early Hollie, simmer down, just make it to the end.

The last mile went by quickly and all of a sudden, I saw the giant finisher shoot.  I stared longingly at it.  As I approached the finishers shoot, and final strides I saw several friends and made it a point to wave to every single one.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

I crossed the finish line in 1:32.29 and as fourth female and 9th person overall.  One of my slowest races but I finished healthy, and in that weather, you can’t think about PRing.  (Not that that was ever the plan, considering the week before I thought I would run another local NJ 5k).  Kris won, and was also the 2nd place finisher overall!

I did a short cooldown with Andrew and then cheered for runners.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

I’m happy with the race and my effort.  The weather was not conclusive for anyone to have a fast race, and I had not planned to run.  I enjoyed the Crawlin Crab a lot and on a good weather day, I see it as a fast course.  The course was rather flat, with only a few hills (which is running over the freeway).

Questions for you:

Have you ever raced in the heat?

Have you ever signed up for a long race (13.1+) within the week?

Who Cares Where You Run?

Like anything in the world, many people including myself, are guilty of the comparison trap.  Now that social media is everywhere, it has become much easier to compare.

The constant changes in weather and hurricane season caused me to think of justifying where or when you’re running.

My personal mentality for running is simple:

Run When and Where You’re Most Happy

If you like running in the morning, night, inside, or outside, do what makes you the happiest.  As long as you’re happy, you’re a “real runner” but alas a post for another day.

The weather got me thinking out loud about justifying yourself.  Before social media, we felt as though we had no one to report back too.

If we wanted to run on the treadmill…fine…if we wanted to run outside…fine.  

There wasn’t a “which one is better” or “you aren’t a real runner if you run inside” type of mentality.

We didn’t go for a run and immediately upload it to whatever social media website preference.  I am as guilty as anyone for doing this.  I post my training logs weekly, I post photos on Instagram, and I love a good race recap.

With social media, it is much easier to fall into the comparison trap.  You can compare running where, why, how, when, how much…the list is endless.  Anything you want to compare, you can.

For instance, it’s easy to tell someone to get outside. It’s easy to say there is never an excuse to run inside.  Critiquing someone else is easy…but you know what?

 Who Cares?

Who cares if you run inside or outside?  At least you are getting out there doing your thing. Personally, I hate running outside in pouring, freezing rain.  It’s miserable, I look a mess and honestly it’s just not fun.  Sometimes I would instead zone out on the treadmill and catch on TV inside.  Maybe I want to use the treadmill for pacing.  Whatever the reason, I just want to run inside. I don’t ever plan to justify my decision of where I run…I just do what makes me happy.

Sometimes I would instead zone out on the treadmill and catch on TV inside.  Maybe I want to use the treadmill for pacing.  Whatever the reason, I just want to run inside. I don’t ever plan to justify my decision of where I run…I just do what makes me happy.

To those who think the only running is outside…that is false.

To those who think the only race out there is the marathon…also false.

To those who think there is no reason to ever run inside…

LOLZ, sorry running in the 35-degree rain is not fun.  I spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 racing in those conditions, and it was not pleasant.

I love shamrock…but the weather no

Running in hail is not fun.

Running in 120-degree weather is not fun.

Or what if you are short on time and want to catch up on your favorite TV show and fit a run in?  I think that’s better than sitting on your couch catching up TV?

Some people are not comfortable running outside, and it’s essential (for others) to realize that people do what they are comfortable.  Safety should always be a runners number 1 priority.

Finally, the majority of us are never going to be elite athletes, and we don’t need to have a rigid plan.  Even elites athletes use all sorts of methods.  Some elites love the treadmill, high mileage or low mileage.  We do what makes us happy and what is best for our personal needs.

Life is too short to do something that makes you miserable.  Running outside in the rain is miserable, and I feel no need to justify that to anyone.

I guess I’m thinking about the ways social media has affected our running.  Before social media, we ran how we felt like it.  If we felt like running outside, we did.  If we felt like running inside, we did.  If we felt like training for a 5k, we did…a marathon…we did.

Social media will always cause us to compare.  It’s something tough to avoid in our modern day world.  My point is that not to put others down because where and how they choose to run.

We are all one giant community of runners and human beings.  We do what makes us happy and move on with it.

Relevant Posts: 

Care Free Running
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me
Running on an AntiGravity Treadmill

Questions for you:
Where is your favorite place to run?
What are you thinking about today?

Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

I’ve run in a few Hoka One One Clifton.  I ran in the original Clifton as well as the Clifton 3.  I skipped the Clifton 2 because it was a bit too narrow for my foot.  The Clifton has continued to be one of Hoka One One’s more popular models.  It’s light but still, has the cushion people have come to love from Hoka.

Hoka claims the differences between the Clifton 3 and Clifton 4 are the most drastic.  In my opinion, I believe sizing was a drastic change between the 1-3, but the upper is much different in the 4.

Appearance:

I rarely talk about the appearance of shoes, but Hoka has made a solid effort to make their shoes look more friendly to the eyes.  When Hoka was first developing shoes, some of their earlier models I wouldn’t ever use as a “casual” shoe.  The Hoka Clifton 4 went through such a drastic change in appearance, that it’s now a shoe I bought myself a second pair to walk around in.

Fit: 

Fit wise, the Hoka Clifton 4 is similar to the Clifton 3.  It’s important, especially if you have wider feet (like myself!).  I wore a 10 in the Clifton 3 and continue in a 10 now.

The great news for the Clifton lovers is the Clifton now comes in wide!  That deserves 10 exclamation points by itself.

As Hoka claims, they did update the upper.  The new mesh is much more breathable than previous years and also has zero seams (which is trending in the industry right now).

Ride: 

The Clifton is known to be lightweight but very cushioned.  To me, it feels like a giant spongey marshmallow underneath your feet.  The Bondi feels much more firm and dense, while the Clifton is much more spongy.

Hoka claims this year the Clifton 4 will last much longer than previous models.  As someone who has run and works at a running store, I will say that the Clifton has been notorious for not lasting as long as many other similar brands.  They sacrifice durability with decreasing the weight of the shoe.  This year, is a different story and I’ve almost run 300 miles in the Clifton 4.  A shoe I was never able to put that much mileage on.

If you have run in the Clifton 3, the ride is very similar.  It’s like a giant marshmallow underneath your feet. If you are new to the Clifton or Hoka, it’s a lightweight but a well cushioned and soft ride.  You feel the roll as you move through your gait cycle.

Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

Thoughts:

I like the Clifton 4 and it will continue to keep it in my rotation.  In fact, I bought a second pair to walk around in because I do believe it does look that good.

Current Rotation:
Saucony Freedom (long runs/easy runs)
Hoka Clifton 4 (long runs/easy runs)
Brooks Ghost 10 (daily runs)
Altra Escalante (speed workouts)
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (races)

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?

Training: Traveling and Hot Half Marathon

Last week was quite the interesting week.  Yay for some sort of excitement of training right?

As most people know from Instagram, I ran the Crawlin Crab half marathon.  I’ll go into more detail, but it wasn’t on my radar this year until last week.  I’ve always wanted to do it.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Rest
Saturday: East 45 minutes
Sunday: Crawlin’ Crab 13.1 (1:32.30)+2 miles

Total: 50-53 miles

My weekday runs were just that, easy, and uneventful.  If I had known that I would be running a half that Sunday, I would have probably run less each day or had an extra rest day because the half added a lot more mileage to my week.

Crawlin’ Crab 13.1: 1:32.30

On paper, this looks like a personal worst.  It’s over 5 minutes slower than what I ran just three weeks ago at the Air Force Half on an easier course.  However, at the start, the weather was 75 degrees and 95% humidity.  I felt as though I was swimming.

As I mentioned, I didn’t plan to run the Crawlin’ Crab, but when my husband’s plans changed, I was left with a weekend with nothing to do so I drove back to hometown to see my parents.  I had always wanted to do Crawlin’ Crab, so I toed the line of the half.  Having the hardest week, thus far in my training, plus the weather, made it easy to determine it wouldn’t be a fast race for me.  Everyone suffered from the weather, and even though I was swimming, I placed 4th female and 9th overall.

In all, I’m happy with the week of training.  It’s not what I expected, but the Crawlin Crab felt more like a workout versus a hard race.   I was more happy to meet my goal of having fun and seeing several friends.

Progression (I’ve decided to just keep the last 5 weeks to keep it less cluttered):
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)
Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)
Week 10: 50- 53 miles (13.1 miles workout)

Posts of the Week:
September Training
Why I Don’t Post Paces Online

Questions for you:
Did you race this weekend?  There were a lot of good ones!
What was your best workout?

September Workouts: I am Actually Training

September was the first month in a long time I felt like “running me”.  Not me in peak shape, or me ready to conquer a goal race, but just LOLZ that actually runs.

The other day, I had a conversation with someone on base and they said: “wow Hollie I’ve never seen you in running clothes before”.  But, the blogging world says the complete opposite or: “wow, Hollie do you ever comb your hair”.

It’s a funny thing, priorities change and running is always there.  With that, here is my log for the month:

Miles Run: 150-160
Paces: 5:55-10:30-mostly untimed
Shortest Run: 2 mile cooldown
Longest Run: Air Force Half Marathon
Rest Days: 4
Workouts: 1 (45-minute tempo run)

Races:
Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)
Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
Dragon Run (19:06)
Favorite Race:
Air Force Half Marathon

Thoughts:

I’m slowly building up my mileage.  Most older readers know me as someone as who typically runs anywhere from 60-80 miles when I’m in peak shape and primed for a PR.  I’ve been working my way up there but have stayed in the 40s for the last month.  It’s been a good spot for me right now to balance everything between life and running.  If everything progresses as it has, I do plan to continue increasing my mileage into the 50s next month.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio me running

Other than that, I’m feeling good about my mileage.  Knock on wood, I’m healthy and injury free.  My plan for October is simple: to continue building my mileage and frequently racing as workouts.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

Running Posts from the Month:
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me
Techniques to Help Recover Faster
Staying Fit During the Off Season
How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy
Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Questions for you:
How was your month of September?