5 Strategies to Use When a Race Gets Tough

© Dreamstime.com

© Dreamstime.com

1) Have a mantra

Finding a mantra mid-race can happen, but having a few tucked away beforehand can help when the going gets tough. Write it on your arm, the brim of your hat, or simply file it away in your brain.

It can be as simple as one word like believe or strength or a phrase such as finish the mile you are in or make it happen. Positive thinking won’t create magically faster legs, but it will help you continue to put one foot in front of the other.

2) Change SOMEthing

Alter your stride, tug on your ponytail, adjust your shorts liner, or skip a step. It is easy to get consumed by the repetitive nature of running and encroaching negative feelings can fall right into the rut. Break the cycle by making small, but definitive gestures. This is especially useful in the middle miles where the start and finish seem so, so far away.

3) Smile

Keep it simple. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when smiling. And if it’s a forced smile, it might even make you laugh knowing the ridiculous face you are making. Don’t believe me? Smile right now and find out for yourself.

4) Work the crowd

A lot of runners are introverts by nature. The sport allows for incredible individualism despite the masses that often show up for races. But a high-five or an enthusiastic “thank you” are relatively easy ways to interact with the crowd. Feeling extra shy? Look for little kids and give them plenty of advance warning.

5) Envision the finish

You will finish. Just picture yourself doing it. Watch yourself pick up speed as you enter the finishing chute, kick a little harder as you near the finish line, and make the final leap over the mat. Think about the volunteer putting the medal around your neck. Envision the exhausted satisfaction of completing all those miles.

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