Race Day Tip #3: Mind games and Motivation
A continuation of Race Day tips following my most recent 1/2 marathon, today I thought I’d focus on … well, focus! When you get down to it, endurance runs are really a matter of “Mind over Matter.” Sure, you’ve got to train and have the strength and stamina to complete 13.2 miles (or more!), but after all that training the mind can play some pretty mean tricks on you.
It’s important to have a plan and tricks of your own to battle the mind during your long runs, whether in training or on race day. Otherwise, you end up thinking about every step and driving yourself crazy with thoughts of “is it over yet!?” Instead, you can use your mind to MOTIVATE you instead of bringing you down. Here are some tricks that I use:
- Follow (or pass) the leader: Focus on someone who is not too far ahead of you, and going at about the same pace or not going too much faster. Convince yourself that you MUST stay with this person, as if you are trailing them on a criminal investigation. If you feel yourself dropping pace, tell yourself “don’t let them get away!” You can even challenge yourself to pass this person – set a goal, say “in 2 miles I’ll pass him/her.”
- Sing Song: Plan ahead two or three songs that you know all the words to, and sing them begining to end. Imagine yourself on stage with fans cheering to your awesome tune. If you are super talented, try singing backwards!
- Plant Seeds: If you have a few friends, bring them along to the race – but don’t just have them all at the start and finish line like everyone else, plant your fans at intervals and ask them to shout out motivation for you. On a 1/2 marathon, try placing friends every 3-4 miles – know where they are so you can motivate yourself for the next “run by cheering.”
- Blogging and Book Writing: Many runners and atheletes blog or write about tips and tricks of their own – so why not brainstorm a few entries on your run.. after all that’s where I developed all these Race Day Tips.
I hope these tips will help you keep your mind motivational on a race, or any run!