Race day can be stressful and fun all mixed up with race jitters and excitement. While I am all about being present in the moment, there are times when looking outside of your body and thoughts can be an advantage. Sometimes distracting yourself from the pain of pushing your body and negative thoughts can help you go a little faster and help you reach your racing goal.
Here are some ideas to try during your training runs and races.
Reset: I remember hearing a story about Scott Jurek, the famous ultra-runner, who would lie down on the ground during a race, close his eyes for a few minutes, then pop back up like it was a new day. While you may not want to lie on the ground during your race, you can still reset your mindset at different points in the race. You can drive, run, or Google Map the race course for different points in the race where you will start over. This could be every mile or certain landmarks on the course. At these points, take a deep breath and mentally begin again. You can do anything for one more mile, one more step, one more minute, …
How Many Game: How many dogs, cats, friends, stoplights, blue houses, or whatever you choose, do you see on the course? Count these as you go.
Catch a Runner: Sometimes it is fun to choose a person in front of you and keep focused on them. Gradually get closer and closer until you pass him/her. Then, choose the next person, and continue the game throughout the race.
Rubber Band: Choose a person slightly ahead of you with a good pace. Pretend that there is a rubber band between the runner and you. All you need to do is lean forward slightly from your ankles and allow that person to pull you along for the ride.
Have fun trying out these racing strategies. Good luck!