Friday, March 23, 2012

Race Anxiety

I didn't sleep well last night.  I laid in bed panicking thinking about my time goal for Sunday's ORRRC Half Marathon--a totally doable time.  I'll be pushing my comfortable pace a little, but since Cleveland is my main race and I can't afford injury at this point in training, I will not be racing in a balls-to-the-wall kind of way.  Yet, I worry.  See, I tend to choke at races.  I do great in training, then BAM!  The race is slightly less than awesome. 

CapCity? I'd run the distance a couple of times in training and did great.  Race day? I hit a serious wall at mile 11.

USAF? I started feeling fatigued at mile 12.  Mile TWELVE!  Miles 18 through 24 were miserable.

So, what happened?  I have a few theories:
  1. Going out too fast.  Obviously, that's a common occurrence at races.  All the excitement gets the best of me.  I believe this was the main issue last year at CapCity.
  2. Weaving through the crowd of racers. I know I wasted a lot of energy in the first mile weaving around walkers that lined up with the 3 hour pacer at USAF.
  3. Races have a completely different atmosphere than training.  Yes, that's also why we love races.  They're exciting.  Training runs are generally lacking in the excitement department.  Most of the time I'm alone and the most excitement I have at 5am is spying a skunk in the 'hood.  Sometimes I have friends to run and chat with, but it's not exactly race atmosphere. (sorry, friends)
  4. All of the above.
After past races, I could pick out things that happened to make the race less than perfect.  I'm hoping this year, I can learn a thing or two and not make the same mistakes again.  Lucky for me, my friend, Amanda, wants to pace me for the half on Sunday.  She'll keep me from going out too fast and drag me across the finish line at the end.

Here's my big plan to ease the Race Day anxiety:

Wait for it.....

Pretend it's a training run.

That's it, folks!  My big plan! 
Keep your fingers crossed for me, ok?

What strategies to you use to keep you from choking at races?  How do you keep from going out too fast?


  1. You're going to do great! Races are so nerve-wracking. Each one has taught me something new that I try to remember for the next. Your a pro at this! Good luck! Can't wait to read about it!

  2. I know nothing of racing or race anxiety but I seriously give you much credit for coming as far as you have. You are dedicated! I'm sure you will do great!!!! I'll be rooting for you :)

    1. Thanks, Jan! Panic mode is starting to wind down. With any luck, I'll be left with only excitement in the morning. :)


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