I just received a panicked email from a great friend and client, preparing for his first half marathon. I’ll share his email below and offer my response.
Whether the freak out is for a sporting event or a life event, inviting those crazy thoughts of doubt to occupy some valuable space may prove beneficial.
Please tell me everything’s going to be OK. I feel unbelievably
nervous about the race this weekend, and I’m just freaking out!
Did I prepare enough? What if I run tonight? Will I finish?
I know I shouldn’t let these concerns overwhelm me. But, I feel the
way I feel; I can’t help it.
Thanks for any words of wisdom you can share.
Go ahead, embrace the freak out. This is new territory for you so it is totally normal to feel completely out of sorts. If you weren’t feeling this way, it would be concerning.
Ok, now on to some thoughts:
- Believe. Yes, you are ready. You’ve prepared smartly & methodically. You put in the work. It’s time.
- Affirm. Race-day nerves (and pre-race week nerves) are part of the journey. Remind yourself that you’re ready. Daily verbal affirmations are your best friend this week. Say them out loud.
- Organize. Have a plan for race day. Know when you’ll wake up and when and where you’ll have breakfast. Know what socks you’ll wear. Set a back up alarm. Bring your favorite peanut butter brand along with you. Drive by the race start the day before and scout out the parking situation. Being organized can help settle your nerves.
- Visualize. Pretend that this another training run but in a fresh location. Familiarize yourself with the out-of-town course from the website or reviews.
- Distract. During the race, distract yourself by counting ‘stuff’. I count running skirts during fall and summer races. Maybe you can count running tights that aren’t black or the number of people that have the same running shoes as you. Or, count the number of people you pass. You’ll be surprised how it will help the miles tick away.
- Savor. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Crossing the finish line will last forever in your mind.
Let me know your thoughts. Use this freak out to your advantage. When it doubt, take the deepest possible breath. You’ll be just fine.
What strategies and tips work for you during times of freak out? Please share.