We Ask, You Answer: How Do You Calm Your Pre-Race and Race Day Jitters?

“We Ask, You Answer” is our new blog series featuring your training tips and race day advice. The concept is simple: We’ll ask the questions, and you’ll answer. Then, we’ll compile and share your advice. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Photo Oct 07, 2 36 46 PM

Months of training, dedication and discipline are about to pay off when you cross the Finish Line of the 2013 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. As that moment draws closer, it’s not unusual for race day nerves to creep up on you. That’s why we asked our veteran runners to share a few tips for how they calm their pre-race and race day jitters. Here’s what they had to say …

First things first: Trust your training! As Don Morris says, “The event itself is just like any other run; just plant one foot in front of the other. The only difference is that you have a few thousand running buddies.” David Carter added: “Running on a daily basis has made it a part of me, and racing lets this part of me take center stage. We spend too much time running and training to fret away the enjoyment on race day; we are more prepared than we think. If running is our play, then racing is our playground!”

Jesse Armbruster suggests you stick to your routine: “If I have good races in the past I look at what I did the night before and try to follow a similar path. Also, since I rarely eat candy, I let myself have a candy bar the night before the race. On race day, I just tell myself that nothing I can do is going to change the fitness I have at that moment so don’t worry about it and just go race.”

For Michael Leymaster, it’s all about embracing the jitters! He says, “I don’t calm them … I LOVE them. Remember, from the front of the field and all the way to the back of the field, everybody is having these same thoughts and feelings (just look at how long the line to the potty is!). Don’t let those excited jitters turn into feelings of doubt. Think of them like the way you felt as a child in the days leading up to Christmas or your birthday. You’ve trained, you’ve been good. You’ve likely logged hundreds of miles in anticipation of this day. On October 20th, you get to open your present. Some of us will receive our first medal. Some of us will PR. But ALL of us will have given 100% of our minds and bodies, and that is something to be proud of. That 26.2/13.1 miles is a teeny-tiny fraction of what you’ve accomplished this year. The race is a celebration.”

Laughter helps calm Oyauma Garrison: “It’s amazing how quickly all other “things” disappear when you can laugh — a good comedy, home videos, whatever it takes — just find a way to put a smile on your face and laugh.” And for Richard Monai Duke, a deep breath does the trick. “Long deep breaths through the nose, then blow out short bursts through the mouth,” he says.

And when in doubt, just remember this great piece of advice from Bill Schwertfager. “I take in the spectacle of the pre race event, but always remember that I am racing against myself and no one else. At that point, the pressure is off. I run for fun, enjoyment, relaxation, and exercise and because of this, I always win.”

How will you calm your race day jitters this year? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments. You can also click here for more advice from our runners!

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