When planning a race, there's so much you have to think of and work on. You have to set up a training-scheme, try-out race-food, maybe you still have to loose some weight or need to buy new workout-clothes, ..;
But one thing most of us tend to forget, is that training is also mental.
So besides physical training and lots of preparation, you should also think about making some time for the mental part of it all.
How? Well here's my experience and some tips that I use ...
1) Find a motivating mantra
During the last weeks and months I've read lots of quotes. Why? Because I start talking to myself (no, I'm not crazy - yet - it's only in my head.. Ok, that doesn't make it better but oh well) when I feel it's getting hard to keep going.
How does it work? And how could talking to yourself get you through a race?
Personally I think it's very useful because whenever things get hard, you might make it even harder by staying focused on the fact that you're having a hard time.
So by replacing your focus on some mentally motivational quotes, you're forgetting about your muscle pains, tired out body, bored mind, ... and replace your negative thoughts by some energizing & positive thoughts.
Here are some of my favorite one-liners I use to distract my mind:
Now it's up to you! Make a list of your three favorite motivation quotes and try them out during your next run, bike ride, swim, walk, ...
TIP: go have a look on Pinterest and make a "motivation-board" to collect all of your most effective quotes!
2) Visualize and think about the "why"
You'll probably already have hear about "visualization" to get yourself ready for a race. But have you already tried it out yourself?
Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.
That's the idea behind "visualization". You fantasize about how you"ll feel during your upcoming race.
Me for example, my first race of this year is coming up really fast - 21K Crêtes de Spa - and since I've already ran this race once before last year, I kinda know how the parcours goes. But if you're attending a brand new race, you can look things up 'cause mostly you can find the parcours on the website.
Also you can learn from your past trainings to predict when it might become hard in the race.
"foresee it, believe it, achieve it"
How? Think about a previous training that was hard for you in any way possible (mentally, physically, ... )
For example a long-distance-run of 90 minutes in which you ran about 15K (more or less) .Than ask yourself some questions and go back to the point where it became hard in any way to relive the moment (in your mind) . Think about what you could do to become better in this specific moment.
Questions to ask yourself:
Personally I'm thinking about last year's "Crêtes de Spa" and envisioning the enitre race, especially the parts where I felt like I was almost dying (not really obviously, but still).
Now that I know that I can complete this race without actually dying, I already feel stronger. Because last year I had never ran a 21K race before and I had never ran a trailrun of any distance either so I honestly didn't really know what I had started.
The result was that I was more careful with my energy so that I wouldn't start to fast to end up all burned-up halfway the race.
Now I know the parts where it'll become harder so I know how to dose my energy to make sure I have enough left to overcome these obstacles.
Also I'll keep pushing a little more just because I know I felt really great when finishing, not extremely tired-out or something so I just know that I can go a little deeper without hurting my body too much.
3) Tune in to your body
You probably tune-in your music during your race, but have you also tried to tune in to your body? Not by connecting your wi-fi earplugs to some kind of body-wi-fi (you never know what the future holds though)
Take for example the time to check your body every 5K or every 30 minutes - whatever fits for you - to find out if the way you're running at this moment will be realistic to keep holding for another 5K or 30 minutes.
This way you can fine-tune your entire body and adjust pace, speed, form, ... to make sure you reach the finnish!
Hi, mijn naam is Lena en als gediplomeerd sportcoach wil ik de mensen rond mij motiveren, inspireren & helpen om hun leven over een gezonde(re) boeg te gooien