RACE day is almost upon us which means the culmination of many weeks and months of training coming to an end for runners up and down the country.
While all the hard work has been done in preparing runners to get through their chosen course, there can still be moments of difficulty come race day.
That is why Runners Need is sharing its tips and advice to help people stay motivated in getting to the finish line.
Christian Allen, Product Trainer at Runners Need, said: “Race day can be incredibly emotional for runners, especially when you take into consideration the past year we’ve had with cancelled and postponed events. But when you find yourself on the start line it is important to remain calm and remember all the work you’ve done to get to this point. That being said, there can still be moments where you need an extra burst of motivation to spur you on, and the good news is there are lots of tactics which can help.”
Here Christian shares his top eight motivators:
- Remember why you entered the race: If there comes a point in the race when you’re struggling to continue, my number one tip is to try to remember why you signed up to take part in the first place. Are you raising money for charity? Or perhaps you wanted to improve your fitness levels and see what your body is capable of? Digging deep and reminding yourself of these reasons when times get tough will help to get you through.
- Soak in the atmosphere: Big race events can sometimes feel like a mini festival or event. Often there are musicians and drummers around the course, not to mention swarms of supporters, which can be hugely motivating. They can help to take your mind off things if you’re starting to tire or pain sets in. As you’re making your way to the finish line make sure to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy it.
- Write your name on your race number or t-shirt: Nothing gives you a motivational boost like hearing strangers in the crowd cheering you on during the race. Writing your name somewhere where it is visible for spectators to see will be sure to get them offering you words of encouragement. Hearing your name being shouted and knowing you’ve got their support can be hugely uplifting and can help you to pick yourself back up if negative thoughts or feelings of doubt start creeping in.
- Visualise the finish line: Imagining yourself at the finish line and how you feel when you get there is another good tactic. Remember that you’ve done all the hard work, with months of training, and there’s not long left to go until you’ve completed your challenge. It can also be a good idea to give yourself something to look forward to at the end too, whether it be a celebratory drink down the pub or a well-earned meal with friends and family. Knowing you’ve got something exciting to get to will definitely help spur you on.
- Stick to your pacing strategy: It’s very easy to get carried away with the emotion of the day and be impacted by the other runners around you but it is so important that you stick to how you’ve been training. One of the most common mistakes people make is starting off too quickly. If you get to the last few miles in your race and you’re feeling strong and confident, then push yourself – but if you push hard too early then you may experience fatigue and heavy legs, which will result in slowing in pace and may force you to adjust your finishing time. Finding a pace maker along the course to stick to can also help with this and keep you going if your goal is to complete your run in a certain time.
- Put together a powerful playlist: If you’re taking part in an event which allows you to listen to your own music, it might be a good idea to have put together a motivational playlist full of your favourite upbeat songs to switch on when you’re needing an extra push. If they are up tempo they can often help you when you need to pick up the pace or may simply offer you words of encouragement. Some people sometimes like to get their friends and family to record messages which they slot in between tracks which can also help to inspire.
- Play mind games: Another tactic which can help when motivation is wavering is by playing mind games. Try to mentally split up the course into smaller sections, with your goal being to get to one section at a time. It can often seem less daunting when you’re running something like a marathon to split the route up into a couple of mile chunks rather than knowing you’ve still got another 16.2 miles to go when you’re at mile 10. Another tactic is counting. It doesn’t matter what number you choose to count to, or how often you repeat your counts, but focusing on something like this can help to distract your mind and may also help with your breathing and running rhythm too.
- Buddy up: If you’re running alone it can often help to find a fellow runner to team up with on part of the course. If they’re running at the same pace and seem happy to, why not strike up conversation? You can help to encourage each other around the course, and you may have made a new running friend in the process too.
Christian added: “Setting yourself a challenge and completing a race is a brilliant goal, which every runner should be proud of. Even if things may not have gone to plan on race day, it’s important to take learnings from it which can be applied to next time. However, if you’ve put in the training and have prepared well, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to achieve what you’ve set out to do.
“Just remember not to try anything new on race day – particularly when it comes to nutrition which can leave you with an upset stomach, and to make sure your kit has been tried and tested already – including your running shoes. Our experts in all our Runners Need stores are on hand to help with any running questions and can help fit you with the right pair of running shoes through our free gait analysis service.”
For more information or to find out where your nearest Runners Need store is visit www.runnersneed.com