What goes through your head in the week before a big race? Doubts are normal. Here I share my strategies for overcoming race week doubts.
Only a couple days out from my first 100 mile race. I’m nervous.
Despite having raced many different ultra distance races, this will be my furthest. Usually before a big race I get doubts. This time they are bigger than usual.
A big influence on that is I never did hit the bigger runs and mileage I was hoping to in training. The rest of life threw extra at me. Over the last three months I had a lot of choices to make.
Those choices included cutting the planned training down to something more achievable. I don’t regret those decisions. Many aspects of my world are better for it. In terms of running, it means I never got to run those sessions that would give me the confidence I was looking for.
Does this mean I’m not ready?
No it doesn’t.
3 Steps to overcoming race week doubts
- Let the thoughts happen
- Plan the race
1. Let the thoughts happen
Having doubts and negative thoughts before a big event is normal. It takes a lot of energy to fight. Forcefully trying to stop those thoughts leads to spending more time focussing on those doubts. It seems to lead to more doubts.
Take the mindset you will have those thoughts. Accept them when they happen, but don’t dwell on them. Move on.
2. Plan the race
Plan for the worst.
Plan for the best.
Plan for the in between.
I put some serious thought into what steps to take to handle different race situations as I can think of. These include what to do if my pace is slower than expected, if I run faster than expected, have gut issues, drop my nutrition, it rains and even if I hit my splits exactly.
Lots of this thought happens when running or driving. I will support it by writing it down. I’ll ask myself the question of “What if…” and will answer out load to myself.
The above takes care of the slow thinking. It covers the time and energy consuming analysis that is difficult to do in a race. Doing this before the race makes it easier to use fast thinking to make solid tactical decision during the race. It always gives confidence I have things together.
Racing 100 miles is dependant on your mind. It is no doubt a massive physical endeavour, but it is your mind that will usually break first.
The mind is very trainable. Just like your body.
There are many different ways to meditate and train mindfulness. I take 15-20 minutes that is a combination of breathing exercises followed by stillness. Practiced often this carries over well into settling my mind during running.
What do you do to over come your race week doubts?