Dr. Ciara Losty from WIT’s department of Sport and Exercise Science joined Teresanne on The Drive Home this week to chat about preparing your mind for the big race on Saturday, whether you’re doing the quarter, half or full marathon.
1. Review your training.
If you’ve used an app or a diary to log your running, read back over the training you’ve done and see the mileage you’ve racked up since you started training. This boosts confidence in advance of race-day.
2. Prepare yourself to ‘hit a wall’ mid-race.
We don’t mean literally of course, but any runner knows that during a race, you’ll inevitably find some stages harder that others. Dr. Losty advises preparing for these difficult periods in advance of your race and put a plan in place to occupy your mind.
For example, using trigger words and phrases like ‘keep going’, ‘lift your legs’ and ‘you can do it’ can provide enough positivity to help run through the difficult stages. Alternatively, breaking down the run so you ‘run to the next lamppost’ and to the next, and so on…
3. Don’t narrow your focus.
Often times, during a difficult period in a race, we are inclined to narrow our focus and concentrate on the road ahead. Dr. Losty advises using your peripheral vision and absorbing the atmosphere from the crowd.
4. Force a smile.
As crazy as it might sound, forcing a smile – evening during a marathon – can fire the synapses in the brain and increase endorphins, thus making you enjoy the race more, easing its difficulty.
5. Rename your emotions.
Many runners feel nervous and anxious before a race, but nervousness and anxiety often cause the same physical reaction as excitement; increased heart rate, butterflies in your belly etc. So why not tell yourself you’re excited, instead of nervous. This can help the mind overcome the negative associations with nerves and anxiety.
6. Visualise yourself finishing the race.
By simply visualising yourself running across the finish line can increase your confidence in doing it.
7. Remember that you will always have something in the tank.
Dr. Losty says that humans are hard-wired to always keep some reserve energy, in case of emergency, so when it seems like you’re losing energy over those last few miles, remember; you have done your training and prepared your body, you will be able to finish!
Listen back to the chat in full and hear even more great advice from Dr. Ciara Losty here.