So you sign up for this race. It might be an easy/fun distance, but likely it is something you need to train for. It’s okay though, because you are so. excited!! You are going to kick this race’s butt!!
So you map out this plan. The perfect plan. You visualize yourself running these graceful miles outdoors. The weather is undoubtedly perfect in this imaginary scene. You picture yourself waking up excited for every workout. Of course you will feel awesome all the time because you are exercising and fueling your body perfectly.
This ideal training probably happens the first week.
Maybe the second week.
Sometime around the third or fourth week, though, something will come up. Life happens. You go a few nights with less than awesome sleep, so you don’t feel like getting up early to put some miles on your shiny new running shoes. The strength training session you scheduled in doesn’t seem as important as working on a project around the house. Some friends want to hang out, so you skip a cross-training session.
|Two Weddings and a Birthday|
Life just happens and your training turns from perfectly complying with your scheduled workouts, to a lackluster effort to catch up on your missed sessions, as though that were even possible.
Even if you do your training perfectly, there is so much pressure put on race day. I mean you’ve told all of these people you were running this race.
People encouraged you.
People admired you.
It felt good to be working towards something awesome.
But what if something happens to prevent you from running the race?
What if you get sick or injured or have a family wedding come up the night before (more on that later)? Someone who is excited about running a race might have the tendency to flip out when things go wrong (hi, I might have done this very thing very recently). This adds even more stress on a day that should be fun and amazing.
So what can we do about all of this training and race day pressure? Learn from my mistakes to make training and racing a more enjoyable experience:
- If you miss a couple of training days, do not freak out. Remember that your body will be rested and fresh for your next workout.
- Remember that you are not a professional athlete (and if you are, you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from me). Professional athletes LIVE for training and racing. If this is a hobby, treat it like one! Have fun! Push yourself, but above all this, it should be adding to your life, not taking away from it.
- If you feel an injury coming on (it’s up to you to listen to your body and distinguish between soreness and being hurt), for goodness sake, take a couple of days off. Trust me and hundreds of other runners that if you ignore a potential injury, it could sideline you for months.
- If for some reason you don’t feel the greatest on race day, listen to your body. See above point.
- If you don’t run at your best pace or break any records, realize it is okay. You are lapping people on the couch, right??
Yes, you will have to push yourself.
Yes, you might have to get a little serious to actually do the workouts you plan on…but racing shouldn’t be a huge burden to yourself and those around you. When it is, you might need to step back and reevaluate why you are signed up for a race.
What prompted this post? My life of course…
Dave and I went to pick up my race packet for the 10-mile run I was supposed to run Sunday. We both weren’t feeling so well (I think Dave’s cold transferred to me so I felt like a zombie), PLUS big city traffic was absolutely nuts Saturday night. (Dave and I are from Nebraska where rush hour means you might be 5-10 minutes late.) I was so glad he was driving because honestly I was slightly terrified being a passenger.
Apparently a big hockey game was happening at the same time that packet pick-up for the Twin Cities Marathon was happening. So. many. people. so. many. CARS. I always thought I was from “the big city” because basically I lived in one of the two cities in Nebraska, but really I had no idea what a big city is actually like.
I was already a tad apprehensive about running the race with my leg being all weird, my heels hurting, and my allergies attacking me last week. Add to that the cold symptoms and having to navigate the enormous crowds the next day made me want to crawl into a hole and hide. The straw that broke the camel’s back was cramps that came on later that evening. It was almost like a sign. I decided not to do the race, even though I felt like I was letting the girls (and everyone else) down.
I did, however, end up raising the entire amount needed for Girls on the Run (which was originally the biggest concern)! I had no idea it would be so tough..or so rewarding! I am so thankful to everyone who helped out. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!!
I don’t think I will be raising funds for anyone again any time soon, but I will continue to work with Girls on the Run because I am in love with what they do. Maybe I can do my own 10 miles for them this week? That marvelous thought might at least keep me sane.
Do you stress about training for races? Or put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself?
Linking up to the Healthy Diva so I can stay positive!