Two random blurbs before I head to bed:
First, it occurred to me today how random running goals can be. Race results mean something very specific to runners, but to non-runners, they’re probably like, “Uh, sounds good, I guess??” So, the average Joe would probably be confused as to why I’m getting my shorts in a wad over a sub-2 half marathon. The next question he’d ask is “Why 2 hours?” It seemed a bit arbitrary even to me, after a little bit of thinking. (Though, I do think that 2 is a nice, round number.)
So, I’ve decided: TO HELL WITH IT. What I want to do on Sunday is to run the best race that I can muster on that day, whatever that means. None of this “A, B, C Goal” stuff. I’m not going to sweat the small stuff, which means no freaking out at small deviations from a planned pace. I’ve got to save my energy for actual running, you know. This doesn’t mean I’m not planning on running smart — I’m not going all out in the beginning and then blow up. But I won’t hold back too much either for the sake of keeping to a plan, if that’s how I’m feeling on Sunday. We shall see!
Second, I was coming up with a list of “psychological tips” for Alejandro, since we didn’t get to run together on Sunday. The list was so substantial that I decided to copy and paste it here, with a little bit of editing:
– Visualize success. Picture yourself crossing the finish line running strong.
– Have a back-up plan in case things don’t go well. For example, if you end up having pain or cramps, make a deal with yourself to run for 1 minute and walk for 30 seconds until the pain subsides.
– Related – be positive! If you start encountering difficulties, don’t spend too much time or energy focusing on the negative. It will get you nowhere, and will also deplete you of mental and physical energy.
– Prepare to suffer. This might sound contradictory to the positive thinking, but it’s also good to remember that it’s a long race and there will be times when it’s not pleasant. Focus on how awesome it will be to get to the finish line and that the pain your feeling is only temporary.
– Break the race down into smaller segments if that will help you. For me, it always seems easier to think of half marathons as 2 x 6.5 mile races.
– Don’t start thinking about mileage until the last 2-3 miles because it can be overwhelming to think about how much distance you still have to cover. In the last couple of miles, you can start thinking “I’ve run 2 miles lots of times. Piece of cake.” For me, when I get to the last mile, I always think, “Just 5 more minutes. I can definitely run 5 minutes.” Even if it’s actually more than 5 minutes… somehow it seems doable and concrete.
– Don’t forget your mantras! I like “Forward motion”, “Mind over matter”, and “I can do this!”
Do you have a favorite running mantra or way to prepare psychologically for race day?