You’ve got through your training and now race day is looming. You know how you want to prepare, what you want to eat and the calm feeling you want to have on the start line BUT your anxiety levels are sky high. You feel sick, nervous, have to keep rushing to the loo and you fear that all your hard work and training is going to go down the pan – literally!
In this final part of my anxiety series, let’s tackle races. How can you overcome anxious symptoms and keep your cool so you can be your best on the day?
Here are my 8 tips for race day for anxious, menopausal runners:
- Plan your pre-race prep when you aren’t feeling anxious. Do this well ahead of time. You might feel the jitters but you’ll be far enough away from race day to think clearly about what you need and how you should handle it
- Ahead of race day, write a list of all the reasons why this race will be OK, read it the night before or morning of the race if you’re struggling. Include your own thoughts and things others have said to you. This is your proof that you will be fine.
- Challenge negative thoughts by looking for the evidence for them. You can refer back to your proof list to show you there is no reason to doubt yourself. These can crop up during your race prep or during the event itself. Read my blog on mastering internal conversations to help with this.
- Relax as much as possible in the days before. Don’t worry if you don’t sleep, that’s pretty normal before an important race, Just focus on relaxation techniques.
- Stick to your usual diet and do something relaxing before you eat so you aren’t trying to force food down when you feel a big knot in your belly.
- Use distraction techniques to stop your thoughts snowballing. Lots of athletes block everything out by listening to music before they race. You might prefer the opposite, to keep busy and find talking to other runners is better.
- Repeat an affirmation to yourself, something like, ‘I am calm, confident and in control.’ Keep repeating it over and over whilst taking slow breaths. It’s best if you can practice this before race day so you instantly associate it with feeling calm.
- Revisit your race goal if necessary. Have a plan but be prepared to be flexible. If your goal is putting too much pressure on you then can you adjust it? Often once you get running everything will sort itself out but do keep an open mind.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series. Anxiety is a big, important and common problem. It can have such an effect on how we feel about running yet running is a powerful tool to help combat it. I hope the series has helped you and given you a few ideas of things you can try and ways to approach this. Do leave me a comment here or on social media to let me know how you’ve found it.
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