Is it just me or the more races you get under your belt, the more pressure you feel to out perform yourself? Granted, I've only completed two races I still feel the pressure. It's like, "come on you need to PR. You need to make it worth your family's time to show up to your 6am race." That's half of me, and the other half is saying, "woman, calm it down! It's just ONE race. You have others."
With those mixed emotions I wonder, why do I race? Well, I race because I enjoy racing. There is something special about the unspoken camaraderie I feel with other runners. The self discipline I gain from the mental game. Testing my will and both my physical and mental strength. Learning to listen to my body. Encouraging myself to keep going. Encouraging other runners to keep going. I try to push hard through all 13.1 miles.
There comes that moment in every race where you ask yourself: how bad do I want this? Then, you have to decide.
I never want to walk away from a race thinking, "I could have ran harder" or "I could have run more."
I need to focus most of the time, but part of the time I need to just zone out during the race - not take it so seriously. In doing so, it doesn't mean I slow down, it just means I soak up the moment. I want to savor the excitement of the racing atmosphere and show appreciation for my fellow runners and whatever family members show up to cheer me on.
My goodness, there are so many elements to a race! I encourage you to try one out, of any length. Make just finishing your goal and I promise you'll see what I mean.
At the end of the day, I need to keep reminding myself: I'm a new runner! This is a journey! It's a process where I learn as I go. Each race is a lesson and as long as I give it my all, there is no need to be disappointed whatever the outcome may be.
How do you mentally prepare for a race?