Sunday, August 26, 2012

Race Anxiety


    I have race anxiety and I don't know what to do about it. I love training for upcoming races. I love pushing myself, testing my limits. Everything goes well with training and I expect it to translate into having a great race. But that has not been the case. The morning of a race I start to get really nervous, butterflies in my stomach. I am a ball of nerves and the excitement starts about 30 min prior to a race. I think I work myself up so bad that when I start a race I just can't handle it. I have raced a bunch, but I have only had a few good races. It is hard being in the moment and physically and mentally breaking down. In my last half just a week ago I developed a stitch only 1/2 mile into the race. It lasted the whole race. I think that I had created so much anxiety that the stitch was my body's way of dealing with it.

    I am not sure if I am just afraid of the pain or afraid of failure. I put a lot of time and effort into my running, which I think makes me put a lot of pressure on results. I need to take a step back from being so intense about running. I started running to get into shape. After running for a weeks, I truly came to love it. I need to remember to have fun during a race, not just with training. At the end of the day does my race time really matter? Am I trying to be an Olympian? No! I just need to relax and learn how to channel my race day nerves into race day fun and excitement.

Here are some tips from Running Times that help runners deal with race anxiety:

1. Don't Dwell: Try not to think about the race too much ahead of time. Try to redirect your thoughts towards something else until race day

2. Relax: You need to feel calm on race day because high excitement rattles you. Breathe deep, relax your body and compose yourself. Warm up before the race with jogging and stretching.

3. Cut the Cord: Try not to have too many pre-race calculations. Don't think. Just run.

4.Accept or Eliminate Pressure: Lower expectations to take the pressure off. Focus on the process, not the outcome.

5. Have Fun: Racing is supposed to be fun.

6. Be Mindful: When you recognize your negative emotions, they start to weaken. When we are mindful of our positive emotions, they strengthen.

7. Think Young: With a younger mindset, realize you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

I have a new training cycle coming up and I am hoping to implement these tips into my races.

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