Crush Your First Running Event

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve signed up for your first running event.

Congratulations! Entering an event is something many will not do. Whether you it’s a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon, be proud that you are taking on this challenge.

Run for the Kids 2013

It’s normal to feel a bit anxious, nervous and even doubtful.

You may even question your training.

Feelings of self-doubt are normal, but you’ve done the training, you can handle the distance, the weather the hills and the crowds.

The other good news is that you can overcome these negative thoughts and emotions and turn them into positive energy and motivation.

Here are four tips to crush race day.

Mosaic to Mountain 2014

Trust your training

You’ve put in the work, you’ve followed a plan, and you’ve logged the miles.

You’ve done your best to prepare yourself for this event.

Trust that your training will pay off and that your body knows what to do.

Don’t second-guess yourself or try to cram in more workouts or miles at the last minute. That will only lead to fatigue, injury, or burnout. Stick to your taper schedule and rest well before the race.

Visualize your success

Gold Rush Trail Run
Gold Rush Trail Run 2017

One of the most powerful tools you can use to boost your confidence and performance is visualization.

Visualization is the process of imagining yourself in a specific situation and seeing yourself succeed. It can help you mentally rehearse your race strategy, cope with potential challenges, and reinforce positive outcomes.

To practice visualization, find a quiet place where you can relax and focus. Close your eyes and picture yourself on race day.

Imagine every detail: what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, how you’re feeling.

Then see yourself at the start line, ready to go. Visualise yourself running strong and steady throughout the course. Work through and overcome any obstacles or difficulties that you may encounter. Envision how you cross the finish line, with a smile on your face. You can feel the joy and satisfaction of completing your first event.

Do this exercise regularly before the race, especially when you feel nervous or doubtful. It will help you calm your nerves and boost your self-belief.

Set realistic goals

Having goals is important for motivation and direction. But having unrealistic or vague goals can set you up for disappointment and frustration. That’s why you need to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, instead of saying “I want to run fast”, say “I want to run under 30 minutes for 5K”. This goal is specific (you have a clear target), measurable (you can track your progress), achievable (you have trained for it), relevant (it matches your fitness level and interests), and time-bound (you have a deadline).

Having SMART goals will help you focus on what matters and what you can control. It will also help you celebrate your achievements and learn from your mistakes.

Have fun

WTF Lumberjack
WTF Lumberjack 2022

Last, but not least, remember to have fun!

Running is supposed to be enjoyable and rewarding, not stressful and miserable. Don’t let your fears or expectations ruin your experience. Instead, embrace the challenge and enjoy the journey.

Think of all the reasons why you started running in the first place: to improve your health, to challenge yourself, to meet new people, to have fun. Think of all the benefits that running has brought to your life: physical fitness, mental well-being, personal growth, and social connection. Think of all the people who support you and cheer for you: your family, your friends, your fellow runners.

On race day, smile at the volunteers, high-five the spectators, chat with other runners, and soak in the atmosphere. Be grateful for the opportunity to run and celebrate your achievement.

You’ve got this! You’re ready to crush your first running event! Go out there and run like a champion! 

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