“I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for!” Just kidding, I haven’t forgotten. The race is Sunday after all. So here I am, on the cusp of flying off to LA for my second marathon, and I have to admit that I am more nervous, anxious, and terrified for this race than I was my first. Maybe it’s because I have to travel for this race, rather than coming from the comfort of my own home. Maybe it’s because my first marathon went so well that I worry this one will never be able to live up to that experience. Maybe it’s because this week I haven’t been able to get the miles in that I wanted pre-race (um, Colorado, since when do you have freezing rain??). Maybe it’s just a whole barrel full of pre-race jitters, and I just need to get to California to finally settle in and get mentally prepared. If my life were a BuzzFeed quiz, I would select “all of the above.”
I know it’s completely normal to get anxious before a big race. I know I have done all I can to prepare for this race, and now I just have to trust myself that I will be able to make it through. I did run 141.5 miles in the month of January, so my anxiety is not due to lack of trying (and training). I have definitely been reading up on the pre-race nerves, and the biggest key is to not overthink the race. If you know me, you know I overthink most things in my life, so this is a challenge. My favorite Runner’s World article on the subject written by Susan Paul, an exercise physiologist and running coach, focuses on three main methods for calming those pesky nerves.
First, rather than thinking about the entire 26.2 miles in its entirety, think about the race as three separate races, about 9 miles each. The first 9 miles sets the stage, so go easy and figure out your rhythm. It’s about relaxing and allowing your body a true warm up, getting your muscles find the right pace. The second 9 miles can be used to potentially pick up the pace somewhat, but still remain comfortable. Finally, the last 9 miles are all about assessing and focus. It’s a good time to take inventory, see what feels good and find the determination to finish. For me personally those last 3 miles felt the longest, so it will be good if I can conserve enough energy and momentum to carry me through to the finish.
The second method is to make multiple goals for this race, not just one. Personally, a goal for me for every race is to simply finish, and sometimes that’s enough. This time, I am also hoping to finish in at least the same time as my first marathon, if not faster. However, if I am not feeling it, I also have no shame in not pushing it too much. My number one goal for every race I run is for the run to feel good – to find the connection between strength, breathing, rhythm, pacing, and mentality. It’s a hard balance, and my best races have achieved just that.
Her final method is to look beyond the race. I know one of the things I like to keep in mind is what I am going to eat after the race (tacos, anyone?). I love food, so it’s always fun to imagine my post-race meal. I also love chocolate milk, especially after a long run, and knowing there will be a TruMoo station at the finish line might be the incentive I need to keep moving forward. I also have an amazing mini-vacay to look forward to, including Disneyland. Finishing this marathon will make the following few days that much more enjoyable.
I had one last shake out run yesterday, and now rest and stretching are in order between now and Sunday morning! “Here I go again on my own (how weird is this music video?)!”
|Day of the Week||Cross Training||Miles Run|
|1/23/17 (Monday)||Yoga Sculpt||3.33 miles|
|1/24/17 (Tuesday)||Yoga Sculpt||3.11 miles|
|1/25/17 (Wednesday)||N/A||3.33 miles|
|1/26/17 (Thursday)||Yoga Sculpt||3.35 miles|
|1/27/17 (Friday)||N/A||3.38 miles|
|1/28/17 (Saturday)||N/A||3.4 miles|
|1/29/17 (Sunday)||Yoga Sculpt, C2 Yoga||N/A|
|1/30/17 (Monday)||Yoga Sculpt||4.04 miles|
|1/31/17 (Tuesday)||Yoga Sculpt||3.31 miles|
|2/1/17 (Wednesday)||Rest Day||Rest Day|
|2/2/17 (Thursday)||N/A||3.1 miles|
What do you do ward off pre-race jitters? Any recommendations when traveling for a marathon? What do you focus on to get you through those final miles of the race?