Sometimes we over-complicate things. Isn’t the beauty of the Sport of Running it’s true simplicity? I have found that focusing on a few key words can help remind me of this when my brain wants to wander, quit, or think too far ahead. Have you had your thoughts get in the way of performing your best? Have you had those moments before or during a race when you doubt yourself? Have you felt scared to push harder because you don’t trust your own judgment of effort? Do you find yourself lacking the ability to stay present and in the moment? If you’re like me, the answer is YES to them all. But this happens in training too… and some days, like an easy solo run, this is fine. On workout days, it’s time to focus and prepare the mind and body for your upcoming goals. To do this, I use trigger words. These specific words, that change for various needs (terrain, weather, workout type, race etc), remind me to keep it simple. Once I practiced in workouts, I was ready to apply it to race day. I like the results, and I plan to continue this strategy.
For the Arizona Rock N Roll, I used the 4 “F’s” Find rhythm, Focus mind, Fight fatigue, Finish strong. The first few miles I set out to Find my rhythm. When the doubts of unknown fitness crept into my mind, I Focused. Towards mid-race, when there were still a lot of miles to run, I was Fighting fatigue. And when it came time to push the last few miles, I Finished strong. Goals accomplished, 1:12:39 and a victory to start of my spring racing season.
In the New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon, I used the ABC’s. Have a race Attitude from the gun, Believe in myself and my improved fitness, and Commit to push hard at the end. I came away with another win and my second fastest half marathon time ever of 1:11:02.
If you’re like me, and need to train your brain to support your performance goals on race day, try this technique and let me know how it works for you!