Showing posts with label encouragement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label encouragement. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Encourage Yourself to Push Through a Tough Race

We've all been there.

No matter what the distance, no matter how many races you've run, we've all had at least one race where we've hit "the wall".  Some of us more than one.

Physically exhausted, mentally beat up, it would be easy to call it quits. Right? 

But there's no glory in quitting. So what is a runner to do? How can you encourage yourself to get back on track and finish the race?

Been there, done that! I've run a few races...and I've battled those mental demons more than I care to admit. If you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you know how much work I've done on mental fitness along with my race training. Since today's Wednesday Word is encourage, I thought I'd share some of my favorite strategies that I've used to encourage myself to get to the finish line.

You've got to have friends...Yes. I've run plenty of races where my friends have been running too. But I've run only one race with a friend by my side. Big Sur was so special to me in so many ways but mostly for having Kristina run with me. When I signed up I didn't even think about how hard this race would be. I could never have predicted that I'd be running on minimal training and battling plantar fasciitis. I gave Kristina plenty of opportunities to back out, even when we were running the actual race. But she stuck by my side, and we finished, hand in hand.

I don't think I'll ever get enough of looking at this. What a magical experience!
It's all about the bling-bling... Have you ever run a race for the bling? Plenty of people I know run those Disney races just for all the medals. If you don't finish, you don't get bling. End of story. That should be enough encouragement to keep you moving. It works for me.

I did run this one for the bling. What an awesome medal. My husband treated me to beer...
There's beer at the finish... To me, there is nothing that tastes better than that post race beer. Most of the time, that is. If they are serving Michelob light or some other similar swill, I'll wait until I can get to the bar. But if there's a tasty craft beer at the finish, that knowledge gives me an extra kick in my step! My first Chicago Marathon was so hard and I felt so sick that I wasn't able to partake in the yummy Goose Island 312 that they were serving at the finish. Talk about regrets...

Dance to the music... I don't always race with music but when I do, I make sure that I have some kick ass tunes on my playlist. I need stuff that will push me down the road. For me, that's heavy metal/rock and rap. Whatever it takes, right? Sometimes I even sing--out loud! Current faves include California Love by 2 Pac (an oldie but a goodie because I'm still in California mode), My Way by Limp Bizkit (another oldie), and Kiss This by The Struts. Boom.

Just breathe... Truly my favorite mantra, I wear this on my wrist every day. As I like to say, if you can't breathe, you can't do anything. Sometimes when I'm running, I need to remind myself of this.

Trust the training... When the going gets tough, remind yourself of all the hard work you did to get to this point. When Kristina and I were pushing up those hills of Big Sur, I'm sure she was rolling her eyes as I kept chanting "drive, drive". That's what Becky kept telling me during my training when she had me pulling the sled, and I won't lie, those hills felt exactly like pulling the sled. That coach of mine knows what she's doing, and it felt great to remind myself of that during my goal race.

Smile... Smiling's my favorite. Truly. What is is about smiling that lightens the load? Smiling relaxes your facial muscles. Smiling helps release endorphins and serotonin, those feel-good hormones. And if you don't feel like smiling, thank a volunteer. The volunteer will smile at you and we all know that smiling is contagious. Don't forget to smile at the photographers, no matter how bad you feel! Bad race photos just remind us of the pain...

Worst race photo ever. I was feeling bad, and yep, it showed! If only I had smiled..
Wisconsin Half Marathon 2011
Phone a friend... Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when I ran my first Chicago Marathon, I hit the wall hard at mile 17-18. I called my husband crying to come and pick me up. He told me no way would he do that. "Walk the rest of the way if you have to. Just finish, " he told me. And he was right. Could I have lived with myself if I DNF'd? It was bad enough that I fell apart. That phone call got me to the finish. While I wasn't happy with my results, I finished. Which is more than 99.9% of the population can say!

What do you do to encourage yourself during a tough race or run? 

I'm linking up with DebRuns for WednesdayWord! Today's word is encourage!

Also linking up with Running Coaches' Corner! Check out Susie, Debbie, Rachel, and Lora Marie!