Some people get nervous during a presentation, some people get nervous when flying, and some people get nervous before running a marathon. It’s no surprise: you’ve been working hard for months, and it’s finally time to show what you’re made of, often in front of thousands of people. It’s even more daunting if it’s the first marathon you’ve participated in. In order to help with the nerves, I’ve made a list of things you can do to
ease your mind, and maybe even help enhance your experience.
Understand most people feel the same
I don’t know what’s with humans, but there’s always a feeling of “relation” if someone else is suffering just as you are. The feeling that you’re not alone can bring warmth to any human, which is only natural. If you ever meet someone who doesn’t feel the same, I recommend you stay clear of them. Nevertheless, when you enter a marathon race (it
doesn’t have to be a marathon: it can be a 5k race, through to an ultra-marathon) it needs to be noted that everyone around you will be feeling the nerves. Understanding and appreciating this fact can bring immediate calmness to your mind, and will help keep them nerves under control.
Trust in yourself and your training
You’ve put in the weeks of training, and now it’s time to show us what you’ve got. Whether your aim is to just finish the race or achieve a certain time, you’ve worked for it and you deserve all the success. When you begin to trust in yourself, you’ll discover that you won’t even know what you were nervous about. Instead of focusing too much on the nerves, focus on what you’ve learned and I can assure you that everything will be fine – you may even realize you’re better than you had ever anticipated!
Research the race
Being ill-prepared for anything is never a good thing. The only good thing it’s for is improv comedy, and we all know most of the time those turn into a shipwreck (although sometimes it’s actually really good!).
However, you’re not doing improv comedy – you’re running a race; a race which requires incredible amounts of energy and focus to accomplish. The last thing you want to happen when running a marathon is to be confronted by “surprises” – and I’m not talking about the Easter bunny leaving chocolates throughout the race types of surprises, but less
enticing surprises such as unexpected hills or other nonsensical obstacles that can get in your way and hurt your performance. Don’t spend days analyzing every single aspect of the race – that’d even make me nervous. Just study it “enough” to know what to expect. Just to add: don’t forget you can always email or call those who operate and organize the race – typically it’d be an option on their website.
Get there early
Now is not the time to be fashionably late. You want to get to the race at a reasonable time before you commence so you can get to know the environment better. An hour or so should be plenty of time to arrive, get what you need and expose yourself to where you’re going to be running for the next several hours. This will allow you to pick up your number, go to the toilet and do whatever you need to prepare for the race. Maybe even make some friends beforehand.
Embrace the nerves
Although this isn’t necessarily a solution to the issue – it should be understood that nerves aren’t always a bad thing. You can actually use them to your advantage, believe it or not. They can help you perform better, and guess what: they mean you genuinely care about the race. If you ever find yourself “not-nervous” before a marathon or other race, you’re doing something wrong. And if someone tells you they’re not nervous about running the marathon, then they’re either a liar or clearly they don’t care about the race as much as you do.
Preparation is the key to a good race. This isn’t just referring to the luggage you carry around with you, but also in terms of training, and most importantly: sleep. Try and have everything into place before you not only begin racing (whether it be having the right music/shoes and whatnot) but also ensuring you get enough sleep to prevent turning into
a zombie on the day of the race, as well as making sure you’ve done enough training to get through the marathon. I understand and empathize that it may be difficult to sleep the night before running a marathon, and may even seem impossible – kind of like Christmas Eve as a child.
However, a good sleep is essential for any day, but may even be extra essential before running a marathon.
Oh, and don’t forget to eat breakfast before the race (you’ll thank me
Don’t get too caught up about the nerves. This is supposed to be a fun time – all your hard work finally coming together. The more you stress, the less you’ll be able to have fun when running, and that helps absolutely nobody (imagine how much we’d have progressed as a society if stress and nerves were genuinely beneficial?!). Nobody will laugh if you make a mistake (and I’m sure you won’t make a mistake, but if you do…
nobody would laugh), and before you know it, you’ll be running towards the finish line ready to collect your medal proving you did it.
So, next time you’re preparing for a marathon, ensure you’ve taken into consideration all I have said and recommended. Some people handle nerves more extensively than others, which is fine. Make sure you do what you need to do to keep the nerves under control and you’ll be sure to have an excellent race.
Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast and has built his own website located at www.marathondriven.com. It’s stacked with information and other goodies regarding marathon running and training for those over the age of 30. If you want to find out more about Curt and what he writes about, you can freely open the link mentioned earlier.