Training and Motivation: dealing with pre-race anxiety

running-advice-bugIt’s almost marathon time and lots of marathon runners out there are starting to be nervous about their races. If I had a way to peek into their brains and read their thoughts, this is probably what I’d hear: “OOOOOHHHHH XXXX!!!!” You pick the expletive to fill in for the XXXXs.

Don't Freak OutThe truth is that we all get anxious coming into a marathon. There are a lot of reasons for this. For one thing, if this is your first marathon, then you have a lot of doubt about the outcome. You’ve never run this far and every time you’ve told someone you were running a marathon, they gave you that look like, “really, that’s soooo far!”

But there’s more to it than that. You’ve spent four or five months preparing for the event. How many things have you put that much energy into? Maybe your wedding if you got married or maybe a big exam. And you were probably nervous as all heck on those days when they finally arrived.

You’ve been training, and hoping, and struggling, and succeeding, and failing and doing all kinds of things getting ready for your marathon. And it’s all building up in your head. The one thing that I can say without a doubt is that the vast majority of marathon runners, first time or twentieth, think about their upcoming event probably many times each day in the week before the race – it’s basically always on their minds and in their thoughts.

Oh and yes, there’s that competitive thing too. We all have goals (which are a good thing), but there’s that word “race” that goes along with the event. And there’s that big clock, and talk of timing chips, and cut-off times, and time-limits, and pace groups. So even if we are not overtly thinking about being competitive like the faster runners up front, competition is creeping into our thinking by our very human nature.

Are you nervous yet?
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