Running is 90% mental. Once you allow negative thoughts to leak into your mind, they will send you running backwards (not literally) in no time, spiralling out of control.
Nothing beats crossing the finishing line knowing you did everything right. All your hard work and gruelling dedication throughout training truly payed off; your one happy runner.
However for most, achieving that level of success is never an easy task, but stick with me, hear me out because if you have fallen in love with running and would like to improve your running experience (experiencing that runners high) then consider yourself in exactly the the right place.
With that said, here are 7 tips and tricks to prevent slowing down. Its about time you smashed your race-day performance, don’t you think?
Practice Pacing While Working Out
If your a speedy Gonzales who loves sprinting or going out every run to compete for a PB…think twice. It is recommended that you consider your workout as a race sticking too a consistent pace that will allow you to reach your goal with ease.
While working out stick to your race pace. This calculator is great to help you figure what your race pace is. For instance: a 26.6 marathon in a target time of 4 hours means your race pace will be 09:10 per mile consistently.
You will find it useful to take note on how your arms move, and how does your breathing sound? Was this pace too fast? too slow? identifying these aspects along with anything else you find noteworthy to discuss adjustments with a run coach, will no doubt help in improving your natural running pace.
Consistency Is The Key
This is a vital point to note. If you are new to running, consistent pacing is the key if you do not want to end your race by hitting the wall and slowing down. It would help if you started by covering a short distance and progress with your training plan.
For instance, you can run two times one-mile repeats.
To achieve this, you will need your watch and use an area where you can see the 400m markers. Start running the first mile positive by recording the race pace per mile and then divide it by four. You will need to run your first 400m around 15% faster when you repeat.
Implementing this strategy when working out, will improve your racing pace. This is because your body will adapt into a rhythm. So by understanding your pace, you will become a skilled runner.
Always start slow
At the race start, skilled runners will start stronger and faster than their intended pace for the initial 1-2 minutes. After than they force themselves to slow back down. It is highly recommended that you slow down significantly to an extent where you feel you are going too slow for the race.
FACT you will experience an adrenaline rush during race day; for that reason everything will feel easy. Its where many new runners make THE race day mistake, for example: if your race pace is 8:00 per mile, on that day, the first mile or two at 8:00 will feel like effortless and slow jogging. Don’t let that feeling influence you to speed up! If you ‘hold back’ resist the temptation to push at the start, you can have a strong, sprint-like finish at the end (plus, this is where all the cameras are; smile and sprint)
Focus On Your Breathing
Breathing sound is such a vital tool for monitoring your speed, and most seasoned runners will utilise this tactic almost every session. When running, try and listen to the breathing pattern from the people around you. If they are huffing and puffing; its a signal that the voice inside their head has doubts. Its telling them they are running too fast and so breathing hard, desperately trying to get the oxygen in!
This has happened to everyone; as a race progresses, this little doubt often grows, which in turn slows you down.
To combat it, you need to listen to your breath, ensuring that it is always calm and collected. Your body to feel stronger, and a confidence boost to maintain your race pace with ease. Listening to your breathing pattern is vital and will always boost your running experience.
Monitor Your Distance
Monitoring your distance while running is imperative; however, you do not want to spend the miles looking at your GPS or watch and miss the landscape, or the comradery of running. Instead, to monitor your distance, consider using clocks present on the course and do so few times throughout the race. It is recommended that you check on it approximately two time for half marathon, four times in a full 26.6.
For instance, every 2 miles for a 10k race or 7 miles for a marathon to check on how your doing and Compare to the previous. You should set a time in your mind and ensure that it is not faster than your race pace (I found writing my target times on my forearm, instead of trying to do math AND run. (While monitoring your distance and speed splits, check in on your breathing too).
Get Rid Of The Pressure
When racing, mental struggles are almost a given. Since we are plagued with idea of letting ourselves, running club, or even the country down. What will others think of me? what will they say about me? Having these negative thoughts will undoubtedly slow down your pace.
Remember that running is 90% mental; therefore getting rid of negative pressure will help in boosting endurance and performance. If you don’t want to slow down when racing, you will need to focus on other vital aspects, such as the finish line, singing to yourself, calculating your speed splits (how are you guys doing this and running in a straight line?) all these help to remove looming negative pressure you’re likely to experience.
Dehydration will always slow you down. More often than not, experienced by the early morning runners who (somehow) start exercising the minute their alarm goes off. But stopping for a a glass of water halfway out the door is enough to improve your race pace.
As a runner, it is recommended that you hydrate properly. Yeah that’s with water or electrolyte drinks, not alcohol I’m afraid! The caffeine from your coffee will provide you with the desirable jolt. But is a natural dehydrant, so maybe have water next to your coffee in the morning. The goal is to have clear urine; anything dark warrants another glass of water before pounding the pavement.
While in a full or half marathon race, there are many water stations so try and rehydrate at the water help in improving your pace (even if you think you don’t need it, a few sips wouldn’t hurt).
The Takeaway message
Running will take up both your physical and mental strength. While you might experience pain, it is this pain that will lead to your moment of pride. If you need to improve your running experience, applying the seven vital tips discussed in this article will help you achieve your goal with the utmost ease.
See you at the finish line; after your sprint finish of course.