4 Mental Tips to Overcome Your Pre-Race Jitters | Rodale Wellness

By Dr. Shaun Brown
August 24, 2015

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Obviously, some athletes feel the pre-race jitters more greatly than others. However i think just about all runners really feel a little bit of flip-flopping in their stomach prior to a competition. It comes with the territory. A little case of anxiety before a contest may actually be considered a good thing in terms of performance. To understand why, let’s reach back to 10th grade biology for an explanation. 

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If you were paying attention in class (and have a good memory), you may remember that your supportive nervous system (SNS) controls your heartbeat, blood pressure, and blood vessels. Which heightened, anxious feeling you receive just before the gun goes off or if you suddenly meet a bear in the woods is actually caused by the SNS pumping excitement and other hormones into the bloodstream. When the pain of waiting around through those pre-race announcements is actually finally more than and the gun goes off, this flood associated with “fight or even flight” hormones begins your heart beating faster and causes your own blood pressure in order to climb, leaving you feeling instantly much more alert and primed for doing things. You take trip, so to speak, because of that extra shot of energy to propel you forward. 

If you’re super keyed up, nevertheless, it can be a problem. In an overly agitated condition you’re prone to rocket out too fast, leaving nothing for the later part of the race. On the other hand, a lack of excitement rush is also trouble; a person won’t possess the juice to push your speed and agility. (I don’capital t know too many runners with this particular problem, but I will from time to time see someone so relaxed they barely react when the horn goes off.) 

Pre-race planning helps strike the right balance between the SNS response and keeping the cool. Just as you have done your own physical prep for the competition, some mental prep is needed as well. I’ng got some strategies to help you do that. 

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Calm the Jitters Technique #1: Visualize 
Some runners take advantage of tapping into actual past encounters. Think back to your very best race or a strong instruction run. Now take those feelings of previous success and own them for the present. Runner Bert Rodriguez states he channels past events all the time to assist him through races. “Anytime I’m sensation tired I remind personally I once went four loops around Main Park. That can help me put things in perspective. Basically can do that, I know I can handle the actual miles I’ve got before me right now,” he says, including that as soon as you learn to believe in training you start believing “you got this.” 

The ethical of the tale is that you should attend to the things you can manage and minimize what you can’t. There’utes nothing you can do about the climate, the packed field, or a lack of water stops. You are able to only take control of your reactions. If you’re correctly prepped and you’ve got done both your physical and mental homework, you have less to worry about. 

Calm the Jitters Strategy #2: Good Self-Talk 
Another thing that can help cut through the jumpiness is good self-talk. When you come down with a really bad case of the yips, it means fear has set in. Fear throws off your pacing, it can make you doubt your technique, and it doggy messes with your feeling of energy administration. That’s when you start making errors. Doubt cracks open the door to failure, and second-guess affliction never did anyone any good. Your goal should be to manage nervousness by considering confident ideas. Try coming up with some processed mantras you can easily remember and replicate to yourself. 

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Runner Jonathan Labell says he or she likes to create positive claims for themself like: “I’m strong, I’m fast, my speed will last.” “It’s catchy, it poems, and you can adjust it towards the rhythm of the stride,” he or she tells me. Mantras that take possible negatives and turn them into positives also work. Instead of informing yourself “My quads tend to be killing me personally,” you could state “It hurts so good” or “It’s temporary.” 

Consider setting a series of what I like to call your very best, great, as well as good objectives. Your best objective might be hitting a per-mile pace for the entire competition. Your excellent goal may be to run an adverse split involving the last mile and second to last mile. Your good goal might be to simply operate the competition as fast as you are able to on that day. Should you flex your own expectations, you can enter the race knowing you will feel good about what you achieve no matter what. 

Labell, that takes this positive mindset stuff seriously, tells me he or she writes their pep-talk phrases within his equip or along the side of his shoe. But if you don’t feel like defacing your person or home, you might create a note on the back of your bib or on a slip of paper in your wallet. 

Calm the Jitters Strategy #3: Don’capital t Overthink 
You can make yourself crazy along with splits as well as pace as well as course features. Just attempt to come prepared and give the very best effort you are able to give tomorrow. By the same token, you want to avoid allowing worry blow the physical side of things. Be cautious about overtraining a few days or so before the race. Avoid overeating due to over-anxiety. And don’t leave your own race at the start by going nuts on your prep. 

Calm the Nervousness Strategy #4: End up being Superstitious 
One last thing that may help keep you relaxed on competition day: Adhere to your rituals. Possess lucky under garments? Wear it should you got it. Enchanting thinking, so as long as it doesn’t get free from control, can be the best soothing strategy of all.

Adapted from Runner'utes World The Runner's Brain


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