Pre race jitters – FT Day 2011 7km run

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My tshirt for the race. Introducing race number C155- Reza Ali

It’s finally here. My first running event – the FT Day 7km Run. I’m doing a very, very, very light workout on my elliptical trainer just to get my limbs lose. I have to admit, I have severe pre race jitters. All sorts of thoughts are going through my mind.

What I usually with these negative self talk is to write them down on post it notes. As I’m doing my workout I will write down any thoughts that comes through my mind as post it on the wall. I find that expressing it in this way helps me get it out of my mind. A lot of people try to ignore the self talk. I think that’s the wrong strategy. If you ignore the self talk, it’ll just get louder.

These are some of the things I wrote…


‘I’m going to make a fool of myself’
You will never make a fool of myself if you run with courage and with your heart. If people think you’re foolish then it’s their loss.

‘Did Not Finish-DNF’
If you do DNF, it doesn’t matter. The best athletes in the world have DNFed before. It just means you need to train more.

‘My heart monitor won”t work’
You don’t need your heart monitor to run. You know your body better now. You are your best monitor.

‘I won’t get enough sleep’
You have rested for 2 days now. Even if you didn’t get enough sleep, you will run fresh and full of energy.

‘I’m going to be slowwwww’
You have a pace which you will run. It’s neither slow nor fast. It just is.

‘I’m going to hurt my knee’
You’ve been working on your running technique for the last 5 months. No knee injury. You’ve run 21.1 km before with no injury.

‘My hip flexors will act up’
You’ve been working on your running technique for the last 5 months. No knee injury. You’ve run 21.1 km before with no injury.

‘I’m going to get the stitches’
You have never gotten the stitches before. Nothing has changed except what is in your mind. Even if you did, slow down and walked it out.

‘I’m going to faint’
You are in excellent shape. You’ve eaten well. You will have proper hydration.

‘My shoes will go alligator’ (my personal favourite)
If they do, go barefoot. If you can’t go barefoot, then just walk briskly.

‘I’m going to get lost’
There’s going to be volunteers and people there to guide you. Just follow the person in front of you. Trust that people will want you to succeed.

‘I’m going to wake up late’
You’ve always been able to get up in time. You can set multiple alarms up if you need to.

‘I’m going to miss the race’
Even if you miss the race, there’s another one next week. Trust yourself. You’ll make sure you won’t miss the race.

‘I’m going to make a fool of myself’ (this one came up twice)
You will never make a fool of myself if you run with courage and with your heart. If people think you’re foolish then it’s their loss.

‘People are going to laugh at me’
You will always get people will laugh and make a mockery of you or your efforts but you will get people who will be with you all the way. Focus on them.

‘The shirt won’t fit’
It’ll fit.

‘People will notice I’m fat’
You are slimmer than before. Give yourself credit. They don’t know your story. If they do, they will support you all the way.

‘I’m going to quit half way’
You’ve never quit anything before. That’s not you. You are one of the most committed people ever.

‘I’m going to vomit’
In the last 6 months you’ve never vomited before and even if you did, nothing wrong with that. 

‘Did Not Start DNS’
You’ll make sure you start.

‘My ankles will hurt’
You’ve been working on your running technique for the last 5 months. No knee injury. You’ve run 21.1 km before with no injury.

‘I’m going to fall or trip over something’
If you fall, just get up.

‘I’m going to run heel strike’
You’ve been working on your running technique for the last 5 months. No knee injury. You’ve run 21.1 km before with no injury.

‘I’m not going to run the whole way’.
It’s ok to walk if you need to. The best runners have walked races before.

Funny huh? Well, these are my thoughts. They mean something. There’s a part of me that really fears what can happen tomorrow and I’ve got to accept that fear within me and not fight it. A great way to manage these self talk once written down is to write down a counter to it which I’ve written in italics. Then I put a big fat cross on the negative ones.

The post it notes with my self talk written on it.
Notice the big cross I put over it…

I feel so much better after having written all the counters. Notice it’s like a conversation. It’s spooky but it works.

I’m going to just do 10 more minutes on the elliptical. Have a shower. Check all my gear and stuff for tomorrow. Have my daily dose of visualisation before I go to sleep.

I can’t wait to run tomorrow. Whatever happens I’m going to have the time of my life…



 

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