Laura won’t say this in her blog - so I will :) She’s a former Division I cross-country runner and track star, a high school track and field coach, and the all-time record-holder at the University of Minnesota for the 10k. She has a competitive spirit, a deep well of motivation, and some pretty dope dance moves that inspire people on and off the treadmill.
I like to believe that I have learned a thing or two about myself throughout my years of competitive racing. It’s what keeps me coming back for more. I want to share some of my tricks that have helped me curb my tendencies to turn into a teenage drama queen that questions just about everything in life. So whether you are prepping for next year’s Turkey trot, a destination race to escape the cold, or a Fly Feet workout, these tips will help you get your spirits high and nerves low.
1. Know that it will hurt and own it.
This is what makes runners so incredibly badass. Preparing for a race (or a Fly Feet workout) means you are going to push your body to a point that most people never want to touch. It means working so hard that your legs will feel like hot lava and your chest beats faster than a chubby puppy on a hot summer day. This is what makes a runner brave, tough, and tenacious. You can’t walk to the starting line crossing your fingers that it will be your best day ever because these only come every once in a blue moon. Go into the race knowing that it will hurt, but that you are stronger for it.
2. Stick with what you know.
I’m talking about fuel here. The night before and the morning of a race stick with what you know works for your body. If you love a good carb load the night before – DO IT. If you need protein and veggies – DO IT. Don’t go for the Tilapia and dirty rice that the waitress keeps pushing if you‘ve never had it before. Trust me, it doesn’t end well. A great way to understand how to fuel before a race is through practice. Before a hard workout play around with different fuel options and find something that doesn’t aggravate your stomach.
3. Set three goals.
Your goals are yours and no one else’s. Spend some time thinking about them, write them down, and chase them down. Set three tiers of goals: First level goal is something you know you can achieve - i.e. just finish, and/or have fun! Second level is a goal has to be loftier and have an element of uncertainty. It is something you believe to be within reach, but no guarantee – i.e. negative splits, a specific time, feel great, etc. The third level is what you believe will happen on your Best. Day. Ever. – i.e. your PR!
4. Find your fun.
Find a way to celebrate the race. Enjoy the moment because it is a privilege to run. Over the years I have learned that two things need to happen for me before a race:
- Dance/jig to remind myself that this is fun, that I am a body of movement, and that I exude positive energy.
- Smile – before, during, after – because this is my joy, my challenge, and my success.
Every race is an opportunity, every race has a moment of fear, every race builds you up, every race has a finish line. I will continue to step to the starting line with the fearlessness and joy of a young child and the wisdom and strength of an old soul.
For more dynamic and form-focused tips on how to improve your race performance check out our video: