We have all heard of Bridezillas. They are the over-demanding, everything must be perfect, this is MY day type of Bride who is impossible to deal with. I want to talk about another challenging creature: the Racezilla. Similarly, a Racezilla is over-demanding with an “everything must be perfect on MY race day” attitude. The people who get the grunt of this creature are usually the loved ones of the Racezilla. I can think back to a few instances where I owed and gave my mom an apology after my race. If on race day you find that people seem to be walking on eggshells around you, you may be a Racezilla! All runners have been there, when running is so close to our hearts and our race means a lot, we are bound to get nervous and a bit up tight.
It is important to respect the need for relaxation on race day. Some athletes believe that always thinking about running will make them a better runner. However, thinking too much about running can be overwhelming, increase stress levels and psych you out. An important component of training is respecting your need for rest, relaxation and recovery. This is one of my favourite areas of training to focus on and help athletes with. Do you know what helps you relax best? Every runner is unique and will have his or her own way of relaxing. It could be reading a book, a favourite TV show, deep breathing, yoga or just joking around with friends.
Running rumination can be turned off by respecting your need for relaxation, especially before a race. Worrying about your running can cause a spike in stress and deplete your body of valuable energy. On race day, you need all the energy you can get! If you have four hours before your race, use this time for energy gains, not energy drains. Some sun salutations in your hotel room before you leave for the race course can help quiet your mind. Calming your nerves before a race is important for many reasons: it allows you to bring your best focus to your race, conserves energy, brings the fun back into racing and can help you get that piece of toast down that is needed to fuel you. Decide when you are going to flip the switch and start focusing on your race, I recommend that this isn’t four hours before your run.
Enjoy finding what relaxes you! Experiment with different means of relaxation. Come race day, your body and your loved ones will appreciate it. On that note, sorry Mom for unleashing my Racezilla on you in the past, it will not happen again!
About the Author: Jennifer is a student member of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association. She works one on one with athletes of all levels and is pursuing her dream career as a Performance Enhancement Consultant. Despite her 5’2” stature, she is also a closet meathead who can be found on cloud nine eating a steak post PB power clean.