Hey friends! I have a visitor for you today — the bubbly, stylish and super fast Teri of A Foodie Stays Fit. She has a few tips for y’all about easing those pre-race, so listen up!
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Hi Nutrition Nut readers! I’m Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit, where I blog about running in Vibram FiveFingers, eating gluten- and dairy-free, traveling, my silver fox boyfriend, and my adorable boxer dog Maizey.
I’ve run dozens of races in the past nine years, including multiple half marathons (eight, I think), dozens of 5K – 10K races, three 24-hour 200+ mile relay races, and one marathon. And I was scheduled to run my next marathon in three weeks.
Until this happened.
But, that’s another story. Today, I want to talk about dealing with race nerves. I used to get a little antsy before races (well, extremely antsy before my first marathon); but, as I’ve improved as a runner, I’ve gotten even more antsy. Kind of ironic, eh?
I think my nerves have gotten worse as I’ve gotten faster and become more experienced… because I’ve started winning races. (Small, local races, mind you.) I put so much pressure on myself to place in my age group, or in some instances, even win outright if I know the field is relatively small. I don’t tell you this to brag; I tell you this to show that nerves happen to all of us, newbies and experienced runners alike.
So, I’ve started creating a little routine before races that has helped significantly with my nerves. Hopefully these tips help you too!
Tips to Ease Race Nerves
1. Lay out everything the night before so I’m not frantic in the morning. Socks, running bra, fuel, Flip Belt, safety pins, headphones, breakfast, coffee, everything (including ahem, putting gas in the car).
2. Shake out my legs at the start line. The point here isn’t that I shake out my legs; it’s that I have a routine at the start of a race that I do every single time. It relaxes me and helps me focus. I didn’t even realize I do this until my mom pointed it out one time. And now that I’m conscious of it, it helps me relax. As I’m lining up for a race, I shake both legs – quick, fast leg shakes – and do a little low-key jumping right before the race starts and I bound off a jump when the gun goes off.
You don’t have to shake your legs, but find something that relaxes you when you are toeing the line. Maybe you say a prayer, maybe you dedicate your race to someone, maybe you crack your knuckles, maybe you say a mantra, or maybe you shake out your arms. Doesn’t matter what, just find what works for you.
3. Tell myself I’m just running for fun. Even if I know in the back of my mind that I’m hoping to PR, I remind myself that running isn’t my job. I do it because it’s fun. And nearly every race that I’ve truly gone in with the mindset that I didn’t care about my time is a race I’ve PR’d at.
Although, sometimes I run just for fun and don’t PR. And that’s perfectly OK, too.
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What are your strategies for easing race nerves?