Ahhh...you can smell it in the air...race day is almost here! Do you have the jitters yet? A healthy dose of nerves is good, but worry not! It is time to trust the training and believe in yourself. If you've gone the distance, you will finish. If you've trained at pace, done the hill work, the speed work and the strengthening, you are ready to race at speed.
For the next couple of weeks, review your race goals, visualize your race, the course and enjoy the taper.
Review your race goals
- Include "to finish"
- Include a goal that is not time related e.g. "enjoy the course" or "meet someone new."
- Include three time goals: your training pace, one for poor race conditions and one for best possible day ever.
Visualize your race.
Yes - lay back and actually close your eyes...see yourself running from beginning to end - up hill, walking or jogging through aid stations, eating your fuel, crossing the 10K, half and finish line. Feel yourself running relaxed and easy - eyes ahead, shoulders relaxed and feet light. Do this every day.
Visualize the course.
This is easier to do if you've run the course or parts of the course beforehand. I recommend studying the map of the race course, perhaps driving it yourself or taking a bus tour of it a day or two before. Sometimes there is a video of the course at the expo that you can watch. As you review the course, visualize yourself running it relaxed and light.
Enjoy the taper.
Relax, rest and eat healthy.
Circumstances may throw you a curve ball on race day; it could be 95 degrees, you may contract a cold the week before or you may forget your favorite race socks! But know this, you will do the best you can within the given contraints no matter what they are because you've trained. Trust the training and trust yourself.