Staying Mentally Tough During A Road Race


First of all, when you are feeling sluggish, don’t think of how far you still have to go. Take it in chunks – like little goals to hit on your way to your major goal (which is finishing). Just think about getting to the next mile marker. Or think about getting to the next water stop. Having these little goals really help you forget about how much distance you actually do have left.

Pick someone to catch up with and pass. This person could only be just a few yards ahead of you – or a few hundred yards. Just make it a goal to catch up with that person and pass them. Then, pick another person and go after them. You’ll be surprised at how fast the miles will fly by.

Picture yourself as a world class runner. Imagine that you are running in a race in the Olympics. The crowds cheering for you are at Olympic Stadium and you only have a little ways to go to claim your medal. See yourself running smoothly, efficiently and quickly as a professional athlete. I know it sounds weird, but it does work.

Listen to the cheers of the crowd and get motivated by them. The crowd noise can really get me going during a bad part of a race. The yelling for the runners, the high fives from the little kids – all of this can help you. Savor that and know that they are cheering for you.

Have a positive affirmation that you say to yourself. Mine is “I am a strong and healthy runner”. Or you may say, “I run all distances with ease”. Your mantra could simply be, “I can do this”. Pick something that motivates you when the going gets tough.