I have been having some ‘interesting' military work weeks as of late and one of the tools I have used to combat stress over the years training for races is humor. Runners deal with a lot. It is a tough sport.
We have family and work responsibilities, goals we are trying to reach, stress can really put a damper on your running performance. The technique I used in 2011 that I was not using as often as I should have from 2008-2010 was letting go of worry, anything that would hinder me mentally leading into a race.
If I had a bad race….screw it…on to the next. The greatest thing you can do is to keep training. Do NOT let a bad race end your golden moment. Remember, it doesn't always work like that in this sport. You have to be extremely patient, otherwise your not going to get there.
You'll let a bad race or some other stress get the best of you…not worth it!
You have to believe in delayed gratification. It is your best defense against slowing down mentally and physically. Visualize it, believe in your goal, fight for it come hell or high water….but stay loose, keep your sense of humor and trust me…that bad race….you'll remember it when you nail the time you are aiming for.
You'll remember the frustration and how you felt that day but you'll appreciate your hard-earned PR even more because you didn't quit, you didn't let up.
I learned this quite well in 2010. I trained harder then I have ever prepared in my life and the results just weren't there. I got through that year, tough workouts with laughs from my teammates and trying my best to keep a sense of humor.
My coach from 2007-2010 and the 1985 Boston Marathon Champion (Lisa Larsen Rasinberger) and I would just sit and talk about this, scratch our heads as to why I had not destroyed the 2.19.35 I ran at the 2007 CIM Marathon. A big reason, too much stress, worry and forgetting the fundamentals. Do the work, stay relaxed.
What I have wanted to do with this site from the start is to bring content that will be useful (in some way) to you, as an athlete, but also to keep things light-hearted. The name of the above first video is ‘marathon thoughts‘ and it is hilarious.
I came home from work and my wife had found it so wanted to share it with you, if you have not already seen it. What are some of the thoughts that run through your mind in races? This video, I am sure, will discuss some of them:)
The last video is of my favorite comedy show currently on television..Key and Peele…hands down, as this clip goes on you will see why I picked it. I hope these clips can simply make you smile and keep your mind relaxed as you head into your mid to end-of-the-week workouts.
Whatever you are training for stay fired up about it. I write all these posts for a reason. I have seen how stress can ruin hard work and slow your progress so take this post (aside from the laughs) seriously.
You have to laugh, enjoy your workouts (but be aggressive too), and remember come race time…you have done all of the work you can. I use to get too uptight before the start of races. There is no reason to be, you have done all the work….is stressing hours before the race really worth the energy? Think about it.
I completely let go of it all when I raced in 2011 and finally my races began to show me the importance of letting go of stress and simply relax. You have spent weeks to months preparing for your race.
What can being tense and nervous (which is normal but I am talking about being overly nervous) the morning of the race do for you? It is a waste of energy. Keep it light, stay relaxed (the best you can) and think of these completely idiotic videos the moment you feel too nervous or catch yourself over analyzing pre-race.
Think of anything funny. A spouse that made you laugh before, a friend who said something to you that made you laugh, something your pet may have done…anything…your ability to stay relaxed and your future ‘big' performances are dependent upon it.