Yesterday I read a post from my blogger friend Tania over at iRuniBreathe about race anxiety. Race anxiety? Well that is something I know too much about. I’m a chronic sufferer of this condition and if there were meds offered, I’d be the first one to sign up. (BTW, I only take medicine if I think I’m about to die. I hate pills. But a starting line makes me feel like I’m about to die.)
For me, race anxiety starts the week before. Even just typing this, I get that nervous feeling. It’s that feeling of did I train enough? What if I don’t PR? What if I start cramping and have to drop out? (Oh wait, I’ve already done that one.) And what makes my anxiety even worse, is the fact that I have to get to the start line hours before the race starts. You see, I’m an obsessively early person. Therefore, for fear of traffic and no parking, I like to be one of the first people at the start line. Then I’m just sitting there, a runner who is a ball of nerves, practically alone, staring at the start line. Honestly, I think it might be unhealthy.
The first race my husband, who was at the time just a friend, and I did together, I puked before I even walked out the door. I have a love/hate relationship with racing. I love that feeling a few miles into the race when I’m in my zone doing my thing. But I dread the hours before I get to that point. Perhaps that’s why I only race once or twice a year. I’m not sure my emotions could handle much more.
I came across this article that had four strategies for overcoming racing anxiety. I do absolutely none of these, but maybe I should start. The four strategies are use races as training runs, simulate race conditions in training, develop a routine in training, and ditch the watch and stop over thinking. The first and the last would be the hardest for me. I am such a competitive person, I don’t know if I could resist the urge to race if I were only doing it for a training run. And ditch the watch? Maybe one day but not until I hit my racing goals. And I’d like to add one more strategy to this list. I think to overcome the anxiety, one should just race more. Eventually you’ll get over it, right?
Looking back at 2012, I realize that I actually raced 5 times, which is way above norm for me. One half marathon, one failed attempt at Boston, one 5K, one 5 miler, and one marathon. My best races were the ones where I had the least expectations. Maybe I should just stop psyching myself out.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Running Update: Well good news. First, I’m feeling 80% better and my cough is practically gone. (The bad news is now my husband is sick.) My other good news is I got to run!!! I’ve been doing some Tara Stiles hip opening yoga videos and they are really helping. I ran an easy 5 miles this afternoon and other than my lungs still feeling bad from being sick, I felt good. Leg/hip are about 85% better. Stats are here.