Friday, March 20

Race Tip #1: Curbing Pre-Race Anxiety

I've got a few clients and other friends that are running the Dallas Rock'n Roll Half Marathon this weekend. Many have asked me for some advice or last-minute tips as we approach the race. I've got plenty, but I wanted to share just a few that all relate to each other. They're simple, easy, but often overlooked. 

As you're in the corral about to start the race you'll likely have butterflies. Nervous energy. The same sort of anxious feeling you get before giving a speech or presentation. You may even have some element of doubt. "Am I ready?" "Did I fuel properly?" "Did I train enough?" This mind chatter is completely normal, but you have the ability to shut it off.

Here are three things I do in any race before the gun goes off to curb pre-race anxiety:

  1. Deep breathing -- closing your eyes and taking several deep breaths has been shown to be effective at reducing anxiety as it works to calm the fight or flight response; in through the nose, out through the mouth several times, and then...
  2. Express gratitude -- typically I'll say a prayer of thanksgiving for the ability to even be out at a race with thousands of others; considering so many people in this world don't have the means to do this sort of thing, we should be thankful that we're here! You'll be surprised how having a genuine appreciation for being there diffuses the anxiety and leads to a general feeling of happiness.
  3. Smile! -- speaking of happiness, smile! You've worked hard to get to where you're at, this is an important day, but it isn't your ultimate day. Remember the reason you do endurance sports: to stay healthy, to achieve a goal, and hopefully, to have FUN! 

Now, go out and do just that: have fun!

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