Runners: Tips For a Stress-Free (And Fun!) Race Day

Fitness // Greta Truscott // 3 August 2015

If you’ve signed up for a running race, whether it’s a 5km or a full marathon, it pays to be prepared! Being organised, prepped and ready to go means you’ll do a lot better on race day, and enjoy yourself more (which is the main thing!). Running Specialist, Greta Truscott, has shared her top tips for a successful race day.

Your Race Day Plan

Training not just your body, but your mind, is what will set you apart on your big day, says Greta. “Your goals and mindset have a huge impact on all your training and racing. Raise the bar and you’ll dig deeper.”

This is true also if this isn’t your first race. Greta says there are advantages to having that race day experience.. “When you do something for the second time, you’ve got the benefit of knowing you can achieve what you’re setting out to – because you already have. That’s important to remember, and will help you stop your mind tricking you into thinking you can’t do it.”

Greta’s Top Tips

Before the Race

  • Some nerves and butterflies are normal, but do your best to relax, keep positive and run your own race. Nerves will help keep you focused and tap into your deepest reserves.
  • Manage arousal and alertness versus stress. Alertness is important for good effort, but too much stress will eat into your energy.
  • Break the event down into mentally manageable chunks. Instead of focusing on the pain and the fact that it won’t be ending anytime soon, relish the fact that you are out there running and having a go. Focus on your technique, breathing and the atmosphere and inspiration around you. Sing out some encouragement to your fellow runners if you like. “Good work” or “keep it going”.
  • Give yourself a range of goals including a dream goal and then a couple of back-up time goals, with the underlying goal of finishing – unless you’re injured. Then you can be proud of your achievement and know that you gave it your best effort on the day.

During the Race

  • As you become fatigued during the race, continue to tap into your visualisation plan. The ingrained visualisation you have been practicing during training and lead up races will become very important to help keep you focused the whole way.
  • Keep in mind your kilometre splits or pace targets using your stopwatch and the kilometre markers or your GPS watch. Be aware of any hills that may affect your splits. Try to run to your pace targets as best you can.
  • Get into a good rhythm and try to run as efficiently as you can with good form and breathing. You should feel light and fresh for the first third, it should feel a bit harder for the middle third and tougher during the last third. Sprint or lift the pace towards the finish so you cross the line feeling you’ve given it your all!

Finishing the Race

  • Dig deep. Focus on good breathing and good form even when you’re hurting.
  • Do the best you can and enjoy the atmosphere and the company of the other fun runners. Your enthusiasm and pride will be infectious and uplifting for you and everyone.
  • With practice and more events you can learn to tap your deepest reserves of strength and energy.

Greta’s Tips For Mindset Shifts

Dream big and set your goals Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timeframe) goals, and everything else will flow on from there. Never give up, but always assess and adjust your goals to suit you and your dreams. Goals will motivate you to get started, then habits will help keep you going even on flat or tough days!

Visualisation - Spend a couple minutes daily thinking about all the positives and being thankful (which is very healing and encouraging). Then think about how you’d like to see things happen or turn out in your training and running race, or any aspect of your life for that matter.

Utilise mantras to help you do your best and dig deep using the power of your mind – Repeat a mantra i.e. “C’mon lets go”, “Fast and relaxed”, “Smooth and relaxed”, “I can do this” or “I am strong, healthy and positive” “whatever my 100% is I’m going to give it my all” etc. Create your list.

About Greta

Greta Truscott is an Occupational Therapist, Personal Trainer, Remedial & Sports Massage Therapist, Competitive Athlete across 5k to Marathons, and has been a 12WBT Running Specialist since 2012.

Whether you’re a seasoner runner or absolute beginner,  we have all the tools to help you reach your running goals. Join 12WBT now!

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