Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to Mentally Prep for the BIG Race


I'm excited to participate in the kick-off of Sweat Pink Ambassador (SPA) Blogger Pros! SPA Blogger Pros is a program that will promote the exchange of ideas, tips and personal stories on a range of healthy living and fitness topics so that we can motivate each other on our individual fitness journey.

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How many of you have heard the saying "Running is 90% mental"? I think about that quote all.the.time when I begin training for a race. If you've been following along with Unapologetically You for awhile, you know all about my anxiety issues and how they affected my training for the Myrtle Beach Marathon last year.
 
Anyone can follow a training plan and physically be prepared to run a race. I am absolutely not saying that it is easy, but with dedication and commitment to a plan you can get it done.
 
I truly believe that the mental aspect of training and racing is the most challenging. As someone who has run 10 half marathons, 3 full marathons, and is currently training for several BIG races-- I have a few pieces of advice to share on how to mentally prep for that big race!
 
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
 
You're probably thinking, "Type-A much?" Haha yes, yes I am :) But seriously. Nothing can throw you into mental chaos faster than not having a plan. The "I'll wing it" attitude may work for some people, for some race distances-- but if you're looking to more than merely survive a race, planning is your best friend. 
 
Stay Positive
 
Surround yourself with affirmation regarding your strength, determination, commitment, badassness or whatever phrase makes you feel like you could conquer the world. Start a gratitude journal or hang up some post-it notes on your mirror. Remind yourself daily that you can do it. My running mantra when things get really hard is "You're strong and healthy". I repeat this over and over in my head until I believe it.
 
Think Forward
 
We all have good days and bad days of running. If you have a bad training day don't dwell on it. Analyze what went wrong and how you could prevent it in the future. Accept it for what it is. Then move on. Don't sabotage yourself by thinking "What if XX happens on race day??" On the flip side-- if you are a worrier like me, it helps to have a "what if" plan. Then when you encounter an undesirable scenario on race day you already know how to handle it.
 
Quit the Comparisons
 
We all do it. We're humans and it's inevitable. But when it comes to this adventure called running there should be no comparison except to who you were yesterday (unless you're an elite athlete.. but that's a different story). You will drive yourself mad by constantly comparing you speed, endurance, and overall ability to someone else. You are out there killing it-- period. Who cares if someone passes you? This is your life. Own it. Truly be unapologetically you for where you are in your fitness journey. 
 
Break it Up
 
Single digits are so much easier for us to digest mentally. If you are running a longer race break sections of the course up into smaller pieces-- I usually aim for 5 mile increments. I was surprised at how much that helped during my last marathon
 
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I'd love to hear from you! How do you mentally prep for the big race? Do you do some of these same things, or something completely different? Share with us in the comments below! :)
 

♥AK