Every runner knows the importance of being physically ready for a race. But mental preparation, which is just as important, is often overlooked. My coaches motivate me and my team by reminding us that racing is 90% mental. While your body does most of the work, your mind takes a huge part in pushing it forward. Being confident and having faith in yourself can really carry you far in a race, especially when you feel like giving up. When you prepare your mind for a race, like you prepare your body, you will be ready to run fast on every level!
Not sure how to prepare mentally? Below are seven tips to help get your mind race ready.
1. Train Your Brain
Almost every day, you prepare your body for a race by running or going to the gym. Learn to dedicate the same amount of time to training your mind; it’s a daily commitment.
2. Ink Your Intentions
If you’re preparing for a specific race or event, write down your goals and make them visible. You want to be able to see your goals so that you’ll think of them often. This creates focus and excitement for your race and helps remind you what you’re working so hard for. Make your goals time-specific too; the more specific, the more achievable!
3. Adjust Your Attitude
It’s okay to be tired or to have a “bad” training day, but you should never let it get you down too hard. When it comes to workouts that are race-specific, make sure you only speak to yourself positively. If a negative thought comes to mind, push it out. When it comes to speaking about how you’re feeling, always speak optimistically. (This rule is the most helpful for me. I never say anything negative during a hard workout, even if I’m having a really hard time.)
4. Keep Confident
When race day comes along, remind yourself of all of the training you’ve done. Recall all the hard work you put in. Remind yourself that you are ready to run fast. Think back to the hard workouts that have prepared you for today!
5. Focus On You
When you show up for a race, don’t play the comparison game. Do what you have set out to do and do your very best at it, don’t worry about the person standing next to you. Comparing yourself to someone else can make you lose sight of your own goals and can bring your confidence down. Focus and execute.
6. Stick to the Plan
Whether you have a coach or your own plan, be sure to stick to your strategy on race day. Nerves or anxiety can make us second guess our fitness or abilities, but don’t worry. Stick to your plan and things should go smoothly!
7. Enjoy Every Moment
The most important part of your race-day plan should be to enjoy it! Instead of worrying or overthinking, enjoy the day and the experience. Races can create a euphoric feeling; race fast and have fun!