No matter how well my training is going, there is still a seed of doubt about whether I’ll be able to do a personal best on that day. This is normal behavior I am told from my running friends, and it is basically for me to learn how to cope with the pre-run jitters.
The key is to think about all the hard training I have done, and how good I will feel crossing the line. A positive mindset and being prepared before race day will never let me down to perform well.
Here are my top 5 racing tips before I lace up my shoes:
What helps settle my pre-race jitters is the night before I figure out what to wear. I dress for the weather conditions and wear moist wicking fabrics to keep me dry and comfortable. I also choose the shoes that are best for the distance I am doing. In addition, I bring an extra change of clothes, socks and comfortable shoes to change into afterwards.
Before lining up to the start I double knot my shoe laces to trip in the race which has almost happened once.
Two other items I bring are Vaseline and Bandaids.
To keep me warm before the start I wear a top that I don’t want and can discard it when the gun goes off.
2. Nutrition/Hydrate – The night before, I eat light- for example plain tomato sauce with pasta- I avoid anything too spicy and creamy sauces that will upset my stomach. Lunch is my last big meal before any race day. The morning of, I usually have oatmeal with brown sugar and fruit with milk. That is all I need before the run.
If it is a half marathon or a longer distance I will bring an energy bar and have it halfway through the race. Avoid eating too close to race start as this could lead to problems during the race. Also, I also keep hydrated leading up to the race. Most big races have water and/or energy drink on the course.
3. Rest – I make sure to have a good sleep the night before. The previous day to the race, I stay off my feet and relax to music.
4. Stretching- I stretch after my warm-up before the run and after the race. I also do a cool down afterwards. I stretch all of my muscle groups, including calves, quads, hamstrings, groins, I-T bands, arms, upper and lower back.
5. Start slow, finish strong works for me. I start slow and then I make up the time later. While running I keep my shoulders low and relaxed and pump my arms, especially on the hill sections. Suggestion: have a realistic goal. Write on a wrist band the times you are hoping to achieve at 5 kms, 10 kms, 15 kms and 20 kms.
I try to run my own race and don’t compare myself to others. This will keep me focused, relaxed – the end result I will be running smoothly.