In preparation for the New York City Marathon, this past month I ran two races including an 18 miler and 5K. Its been awhile since I’ve raced prior to this month and had to get my head back into game mode. Physically, I felt ready for both races, however, I found it difficult mentally to get into the competitive mindset. Once I completed the first race (the 5K) I felt ready and confident to go into the long 18 miler which I was more nervous about. After finishing both, mentally I feel ready for the full 26 miles coming up on November 5th. Below, I included tips that helped mentally leading up to and during the races.
Remind yourself that you are conditioned: This is a simple tip, however, it did wonders for me. Before I ran my 18 mile race I was talking to my best friend about how I felt anxious about it. She told me these feelings are normal and then reminded me how conditioned I am for this run. This comment had me think back to the beginning of my training to early spring which brought an instant flow of confidence right away. As we continued to speak, she had me reflect on all the workouts and long runs I’ve complete until this point along with all of the sacrifices made. This point gave me motivation to run my hardest and put to use all the training I accomplished over the past months.
Eat well during the week of the race: Start preparing for race day the week before your run with a proper diet and hydration. Your meals should include proteins and carbs consisting of lean meats, whole wheat pastas, grains, beans and vegetables. A balanced diet during the week along with plenty of water will leave you feeling fueled and ready for your race. Mentally, knowing you ate well will help you feel even more prepared to take on those miles.
Create an awesome play list: Nothing powers me more than a playlist filled with my favorite songs. When I find new songs, I look forward to runs so I can listen to the music. The same is true during racing a new playlist will give you that extra boost of excitement and will keep your mind distracted while running. Personally, I’m a Spotify fan and love making playlists specifically for upcoming races.
Rest and take care of yourself the week before: As tempting as it is to get those last minutes miles in during the week, don’t overdo it. I would suggest running in the beginning of the week and allow for at least 2 – 3 days to rest before race day. This time will allow for your legs to recover and recharge for the miles ahead. The day before the race, take it easy and get plenty of sleep the night before.