If you are new to the racing environment – here are 10 tips to reduce that pre-race panic!

Experiencing some butterflies before a race is totally normal. However for some of us, it can go beyond this. It may be on the day or the week leading up to the race – but moments of complete panic are more common than you think. 

So how can we try to avoid this? Here are our top 10 tips:

1) Familiarise yourself with the route:
You should have a good idea of the start/finish positions and whether the route involves laps, hills or lots of sharp turns. All of this can help you to tailor your training. It will make you feel calmer and more prepared on the day and during the race. 

2) Bring spectators:
Family and friends can offer huge amounts of support and are always excited at the idea of coming to cheer you on. It may seem a lot of ask if it involves travel and an early start. However, those close to you will want to be there! Make sure you choose spots where you think you will need most support (e.g. mile 13 or 24 for a marathon) and at the finish line to give you a big hug (/drink)!

3) Read your race pack at least twice:
You get sent all this information for a reason – so make the most of your race pack. It will explain everything from parking to where the nearest toilets are. It provides you with all the information you will need for the day and once you know this inside/out, you’ll feel a lot calmer.

4) Pack the night before:
This is probably one of the most important tips! Pack your bag, prepare your drinks/fuel and lay out all the things you are wearing/carrying the night before. 
It will help you to sleep better and avoid any panics the morning of the race looking for your favourite socks. Plus you can do a #flatlay post for social media – who doesn’t love one of these?!

5) Don’t try anything new on the day:
Make sure you clothing, trainers and nutrition are consistent with your training. Nothing new should be tried on the day. This way you know what works. 

6) Only worry about the things you can control:
On the day, focus only on yourself. This is your race and you have prepared well for it. Don’t waste precious energy worrying about things you have no control over e.g. the weather or other people around you. If can cause unnecessary stress and is not something you are actively able to change. 

7) Have a race plan:
You should have a plan in your head of what tactics you will use throughout the race. This may include; when to have your gels/snacks and when to allow yourself some walking time if needed. 
It is also worth having a list of positive thoughts and memories to reflect on when running. This tactic can really boost your energy levels during those tough times or if you “hit the wall”. 

8) Warm up:
Physically preparing your body is equally important. A dynamic warm up can help to increase blood flow and prepare the body for racing. This is likely to also make you feel more mentally prepared. There are often group warm ups in the event villages so be sure to participate. 

9) Travel with someone in the morning:
Having spectators is one thing, but having someone with you before the start can be hugely beneficial. They can help you get organised for the race, get your coffee, carry your bags etc. Having someone to help you navigate your way round the event village and to chat to if you feel nervous can make all the difference to those pre-race jitters. 

10) Remember why you’re doing it
 Lastly remember to have fun! No one has forced you into the race, so remember why you are there. You have trained hard and it should be enjoyable and rewarding!

Thanks for reading. 

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