How to Prevent Pre-race Nerves
If you have taken part in any running events before you will be familiar with that stomach churning worry that can set in a few days, or even a week before an event that you have signed up for. A quiet moment on the train, sitting in-front of the TV or even out running – am I ready, is it going to hurt, what if I’m late – it can go on and on.
Vlad Shatrov, Runlab founder and trainer says it is a good thing to be a bit nervous.
“If you are taking part in an event, you want your body to know that something different is coming up and that it will soon be time to put all your effort on the line,” said Vlad.
“A controlled amount of nerves lets your body know that the time is coming for what you have been working towards.
“What you don’t want is an excessive amount of nerves as it can affect your performance and prevent you from enjoying the event that you have worked hard for.
“Things that usually cause excessive amounts of nerves are being underprepared and disorganised in the week before and the day of the event.”
To organise your preparation Vlad Shatrov recommends looking at a few different timeframes:
Months or Weeks Out From an Event
So, you have committed to an event like the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k or 5k, the first thing you need to do is work out how long you have got before the event and work out a training plan for yourself. Events often provide training plans when you enter or if you feel like you want some extra support and to make some new running friends join a running group.
The Week Before
You need to get everything ready that you are going to need to take part in the race.
Find out the weather forecast for the day and get together the following list of items with this in mind:
• Shorts, tights or running skirt
• Bib number
• Gloves if cold
• What will I wear to race start? – for most events you can wear an old jumper and leave it at the race start and the event organiser will collect to give to charity
• What clothes will I need after the event to put on or change into?
• Running phone holder
• Water bottle
• Nutrition for a longer race such as a half marathon
• Find out if there will be food to buy after the event or is it being provided
• If you have long hair – how will you wear it on the day
Think of everything that you might possibly need, write a list and make sure you get it all ready the week before the event.
Vlad Shatrov, Runlab says, “I’ve seen too many people running around an Event Expo the day before, or even the day of an event, looking for a top to wear or new shoes because they forgot theirs. This is not a calm way to prepare for your event. It is rattling and you shouldn’t be trying anything new that you haven’t tried before in training. Preparation is the key.”
Plan how you are going to travel to the event. If you are overseas or in a new city you might want to do a practise run in the week before just to be sure you know the way – there are not many things more stress and nerve inducing than getting lost on the morning of an event with the threat that you might miss the start.
Whether you are staying in a hotel or are at home – lay out everything that you are going to wear the morning of the event. That way you can check that you have anything you need and you can reassure yourself each time you might think “did I remember my lucky shorts?”
Pack your bag the night before including your wallet, phone, train timetable etc. That way if you wake up late, get distracted by your kids or your nerves are still getting the better of you – you can just pick up your bag and go knowing that there is everything there that you need.
Plan your morning of the event, what time are you getting up, dressed first, and then breakfast? What time are you leaving the house? What will you do first when you get to the event start? How and where will you warm up? Type it up and have a schedule if you worried that you might forget.
FOLLOW THE PLAN. You made a plan for a reason and now stick to it. You may be meeting up with some friends, don’t suddenly follow their plan or use some of their new gels. Stick to what you know is going to work for you.
If something does need to change such as your lose your bib number. Try and remain calm, find one of the event organisers – their highest priority on the day is that you have a good time at their event – they are there to help.
Remember to smile, everyone is a little bit nervous – even the really fast guys up the front, and everyone loves to see a smiling face.