Since I will not be toeing the start line of my goal race I feel it has given me a different perspective on the mindset one should have as you head in to your goal race. I know heading to a start line can be intimidating and there is sometimes a lot of fear associated with it. BUT you are running a marathon (*or other distance for that matter)!!! That is so badass and you have to head to that start line with pride that you trained your way to be ready to take on the beast that is the marathon. So lets talk about some ways to change your mindset to make your day the best ever! Because this is one you should remember forever.
I have drawn a lot of inspiration and learning lately from Deena Kastor’s book ‘Let your mind run’. She talks a lot about being grateful and shifting your mindset. So below are my suggestions on how to be grateful and shift your mindset to allow yourself to perform to your fullest potential.
Now take 3 deep breaths and open your mind to these ideas.
#1 BE GRATEFUL
You made it to the start line and let me tell you that is a feat in and of itself… clearly as I did not quite make it there. Be grateful for the people in your life that supported the journey; your family and friends, your running buddies, your coach and your body that let you get to this place.
#2 TAKE IT IN
When I ran my first marathon I remember being so over joyed with pride and accomplishment and crossing the finish line I really had a sense of ‘wow we did this together’. Allow yourself to enjoy some of the experience rather than being too caught up in splits because you will A) enjoy it way more and B) probably race better. Last year at Chicago I was having the best time in the first half and was literally having to tell myself to slow down
#3 REMEMBER YOUR WHY
Why did you sign up for this crazy thing in the first place? And spend your summer weekend mornings slogging through the soup that was Toronto humidity? Take some time to bring clarity to this as it will give you something to think of when things get tough in the race.
#4 HARD WORK
Think about all the hard work you have done. The runs you did when you didn’t want to. The runs through the terrible weather. The early mornings. The sacrifices you made in order to make this your best race ever. Do not use that as a means to put fear in to you… use it as CONFIDENCE!!! There is ALWAYS going to be more we could have done but the truth is if you put your best effort forward and evolved a little more as a runner and person then you did what you needed to do.
#5 FIND A MANTRA
Having a mantra is helpful to keep you focused and motivated through the race. I started using RSRS (relax the shoulders and release a smile) during my training this cycle when I found myself starting to force things—Release a smile and relax the shoulders. No need to force anything. I also like ‘listen to your breath’. But of course come up with a mantra that works for you. I sometimes even write it on my hand. And just repeat it to yourself throughout the race.
#6 FORGET ABOUT THE IMPERFECTIONS
No one is going to be on the start line or finish line for that matter asking you how many workouts you did or how long your longest run was. So forget about it march confidently to that start line. There is nothing you can change now so just do it!
#7 EXCITEMENT instead of FEAR
As I mentioned above there is a lot of fear that comes along with toeing a line and it happens to me too. What is you do not have a good day? What if you cannot actually finish it? What if you do not hit your goal time? At the end of the day who cares? REALLY… who cares? If you go out there and give your best on that day then you can do nothing but be proud of the accomplishment. So rather than being fearful shift it in to being excited for the challenge. And yes it will be a challenge but you signed up for a marathon… you clearly like challenges— so embrace it!
#8 BE CONFIDENT
Be confident in where you are right now. I know I am always striving for that next level but the truth is you have to be confident in where you are now and allow yourself to be brave as you run towards your goals. And right now is on the start line of a freakin marathon so take that and own every step you take.
#9 RELAX… it is just RUNNING
As you read this you may be feeling some of that race prep/day anxiety… so take 3 deep breaths, close your eyes and let your shoulders fall. The absolutely best thing you can do is allow yourself to relax headed in to race day. It is just running after all you literally do it almost daily.
#10 HAVE FUN
Remember we do this for FUN… no one is paying you to get up and run 32k on a summer Sunday morning. You did this by choice because (*I assume) you think running is fun. SO RACE DAY SHOULD BE THE MOST FUN!!! As Shalane Flanagan has said ‘race day is the celebration of all of your hard work;.
And if you still need motivation DO IT FOR ME!!! I am beyond sad that I am missing this race as it is by far one of my favourites. But I will be tracking and watching everyone else at Chicago (*in bed with Chicago mix obviously).
After the race be sure to take some time to reflect on the experience and learn from it. What would you have done differently? How was your mental game? What else could you have done to prepare better? Or what went amazing? Etc. The great thing about running is that no matter how the race goes there is always something you can take away from it, if you let yourself.
Last year I wrote a blog about what I hoped would be going through my head on the start line of the Chicago marathon check it out here: https://torunningchiro.com/2017/10/01/dear-me-on-the-start-line/
It is hard to put in to words… but I want YOU to have the best race ever… chase those crazy dreams (*but be smart it is a marathon after all) and most of all LOVE EVERY SECOND of it!!!