I think everyone gets a little bit of race anxiety, some more than others. It comes with the territory in our sport. Whether it’s your marathon, your first ultra, or first 100+ mile race, odds are you’ve never actually ran that far in training up to this point. Inevitably you start to ask yourself the same questions. Can I actually run that far? Will I make the cut off? Have I been training enough? How will my body respond to the weather conditions, the nutrition intake, or the relentless pounding of the long race ahead? What if something happens that I wasn’t prepared for?
I’ve been asking myself these questions recently and will likely continue to do so until June 30th when I attempt to run my first 50 mile race. I imagine I’ll still be asking myself the same questions at mile 20, mile 30 and mile 40.
Everyone copes with the doubt and anxiety in different ways. I’ve tried not to think about it and occupy myself with work and other hobbies. But I can’t push it far enough to the back of my mind. Every day is one less day of training.
What brings me some comfort is the fact that I’ve asked myself these questions before at my first half marathon, my first marathon and my first ultra. And every time I have not only finished but exceeded the goal I had put in front of myself. It’s this sense of accomplishment, overcoming the doubt, that helps me deal with the stress of my upcoming race.
I think everyone can benefit from looking back on past accomplishments. They are proof that you can do it. You can run that far you will make, you will make that cut off. I’ve put in the countless miles and countless hours of training to prepare for this. I know it’s going to be hard and I know it’s going to be painful. I know there will be times I want to quit, to give up. But I also know that I felt those feelings before to and didn’t let it stop me. I pushed past the doubt and I pushed past the pain. I didn’t quit. I finished the race.
So as the days continue to tick by I am going to keep telling myself these positive things. I’m going to remember that amazing feeling you get when you cross the finish line after one of those races when I doubted myself.
Nothing left to do now but do it! Hopefully I’ll finish and take home one of those sweet handmade 50HHNH finisher awards.
What helps you stay confident before your big races?