A couple of weekends ago I ran a (small) 5K. I pushed myself really hard and broke my personal record. It was a hard-fought PR, in which I thought several times about giving up. I wondered if I actually could make it to the finish line. Just over halfway through I told my husband, who was pacing me and cheering me on, that I was struggling and then spent the last half of the race moaning as I tried to override the discomfort of pushing through burning legs and lungs. After I crossed the finish line, I felt the same degree of gratitude at having completed those 3 miles as I do when I finish a marathon. It was one of those things that I needed some time to process before I had the desire to do again.
Except that I’d already signed up for a 10K the very next weekend. And while I was physically recovered from that intense 5K, I was still processing it mentally. My brain wasn’t ready to fully commit to pushing through that same kind of discomfort. I was happy with the result of the 10K, but it was a good reminder to me that training your body to run up hills, push through pain, or to stay on your feet for a certain number of miles is just half of the training that needs to happen. Race day success is as dependent on your mental preparation as it is on your physical preparation.
So, how do you that? You fill your bag with mental tricks so that when you get to the start line you really believe in yourself and your ability to push your body as far and as fast as it is capable of. Here are some mental tips for runners to help you prep your brain for your next race.
images via istockphoto.com