The Fall running season brings many new runners to the starting lines of races. If you’re one of them, it’s entirely normal to be nervous. On top of running and finishing a race, there’s a lot that goes into a successful race day. Driving to the race, deciding what to eat and even warming up can affect your success.
Even though you can’t completely control everything, there are certain measures you can take to calm those pre-race jitters. We’ve all been in your shoes (pun intended) and crossed that first starting line. I’ve got some tips to help you ROCK that first race and approach it with the confidence of a seasoned runner.
Tips to Calm Your Race Day Nerves
Sign up for a race where your support system can join you.
If you can sign up for a race that your friends are running too, they’ll be able to keep you company before or during the race. If you can’t have a fellow runner join you, ask a family member come for support and spectate. I was extremely nervous for my 1st 5k, but knowing that my husband was cheering me on helped me feel more comfortable.
Plan ahead for everything.
Check the weather the night before, lay out your running clothes and print out driving directions. I like a printed copy of directions, just in case I don’t want to use my phone’s battery. Plan ahead for traffic, any weather (see my running bag tips) and what you’ll eat in the morning. Waking up and feeling frazzled will only make you more nervous.
Only wear trusted running items.
Race day isn’t the time to try ANYTHING new. Wear the running clothes that you trust the most and that you’ve been training with. The smallest annoyance can affect your performance during a race and cause you to panic.
Trust your training.
If you are trained for the race, you’ll do great no matter what the outcome is. Race day isn’t the time to question how you trained or what you could’ve done differently. Approach the starting line with confidence and treat the race like the finale to your hard work. I was so nervous before my first marathon, but I knew I completed the training and there was nothing else I could’ve done differently.
Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishment after your race, no matter what the distance is! The hardest part is having the courage to start and you did that. Every runner treasures the memories from their first race, whether it was good or bad. Races are a learning experience and definitely have you coming back for more.