5 Ways to Keep Your Cool on Race Day

Race season is upon us and all over the world people are gearing up for every race distance imaginable. From the 5th Avenue Mile to the many, many marathons and ultra marathons happening in the next few weeks, millions of runners will toe the line this Fall, all with the same thought, “Please let me finish.”

I’ve quoted him before, but I will do it again because I love this quote; Alberto Salazar says, “We are all cowards at the start line.” So true. I don’t know one person who gets to the start line of any race and isn’t a-flutter with nerves and itching to start. It’s normal. You’ve trained for weeks, months, sometimes years, and it’s all going to come down to how you do after that gun/air horn goes off. That’s terrifying.

Relax. Here are 5 ways to keep your cool as you make your way to the start line:

#1. Breathe. Deeply. Don’t underestimate the power of your breath to calm you down. If you find that your pulse is racing take a moment, sit down, close your eyes and take deep, even breaths until your heart rate comes down. No sense in wasting energy being nervous, right?

#2. Remain calm. Even if you’re freaking out in the inside, keep your physical self calm by walking around. Consciously relax your face, hands and shoulders. Tense muscles make for tense runners so do your best to chill out.

#3. Jog (slowly!) around your corral. I don’t mean for you to add on 3 more miles before your race, but warming up can help ease the jitters that come along with having too much adrenaline coursing through your veins while standing at a start line.

#4. Visualize your training runs. Remind yourself that you’ve done this distance (or close to this distance) on your training runs. Take a moment to sit down, close your eyes and visualize what one of the good training runs felt like. Easy, controlled, relaxed. Transfer that feeling into the present moment and take it with you to the start line.

#5. Trust your training. If all else fails and you’re still a ball of nerves at the start line, talk to yourself. Maybe not out loud, but tell yourself that your training is done and you’re going to go out and do your best. There’s nothing you can do once you get to the start line, it’s all in the training. Let go and trust yourself.

Have fun out there, everyone. Best of luck in your upcoming races. Stay cool, stay calm and try to enjoy the moment.

Now go out and run!

Making Every Run Count

You know those days when it’s all you can do to just make it out the door for a run? Yeah, everybody has days like those, even the best runners in the world have days like those. My gorgeous husband was just saying the other day that he didn’t want to go run but once he did, he knew he’d be fine. You know what? He was. And you will, too.

You see, even the I’m-barely-motivated-enough-to-get-myself-to-put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other runs have a purpose. And sometimes you might surprise yourself and end up having a super-speedy awesome run without planning on it. Every run counts in the grand scheme of things and the benefits are different for each of them.

Long Runs: Build endurance, log miles, catch up with a friend, clear your head.

Tempo Runs: Build speed, challenge your body, feel like you kicked your own butt.

Hill Repeats: Build strength, learn to appreciate the flat road, see how far you can go before you barf.

Easy Shake-Out Run: Promote muscular healing, enjoy your run, avoid prolonged soreness.

Five-Miler You Barely Made It Through AND Super-fast 20 Minute Treadmill Run: Ego boost, calorie burner, feel that sense of accomplishment.

You see? No matter how much time you have or how many miles you cover, each run can benefit you in the long run. So next time you’re thinking about throwing away a run because you only have half an hour, DON’T. Use every second of that half hour to put your heart into your workout. Remind yourself that, even though you think it’s pointless to go slog out a run, you can make every single run count, all you have to do is take the first step.

What are you waiting for? Go out and run!