Thursday, October 14, 2010

Find Your Inner Calm

As I was mindlessly eating a Pop-Tart and some yogurt before my last long run, I began to ponder a bit about my pre-run routine. All of my long runs begin from one of two places. Occasionally there is a third option, which I did not utilize this training session. When you have started your long runs from the same place your routine becomes ingrained. This is a good thing.

The pre-run ritual clams us in ways subliminal and obvious. This calm carries over (or at least should) to the start of our run. But race day is totally different. The normalcy is out the window the moment your alarm sounds. Which is why one of the best skills I learned in high school is the ability to find my own little center of calm when surrounded by thousands of other runners. Panicking runners. Nervous runners. Runners nervous about the bathroom. Chatting and laughing runners. Runners returning to the bathroom for a second or third time. Runners warming up. Runners standing still.

All of this distraction and borderline manic behavior can be quite unsettling. It is easy to get caught up in the emotional turbulence that exists before a marathon. To avoid this, I find a spot, it doesn’t have to be anything special, and I tune the world out. They are not competitors, but peers. We are all racing against ourselves. I just cycle through the same stretches I always do. I smile and I laugh a bit at whatever random thought happens across my mind. And I just refuse to be anything other than calm.

It is this calmness that makes it easy for me to simply stroll up into the corral. So, I wish you all great peace and calm before you begin your next race; however it is you find it.


Anonymous said...

I am normally pretty calm before a race but I do tend to get a little panicked when the bathroom lines are around the block and there is 10 minutes to race start :o) I always try to keep in mind that this should be FUN and that usually helps me relax and put a smile on my face!

Running and living said...

I tune the marathon out in the opposite way, trying to chat with other runners. Good luck on Sunday!

Nitmos said...

I usually show up at the start line at the last possible moment so there is barely any time to even think about anything else (except Why won't Garmin get a signal?)

Best of luck in GR.

Redhead Running said...

You are going to totally kill it on Sunday and I can't wait to cheer you on and tell everyone that the fast specimen that just blurred past on his way to the finish line is my Spike. <3

Katie A. said...

Love this! I need to practice this myself on Sunday ;)
Good luck my friend, you're going to kill it!!

B.o.B. said...

Aw! Thanks Spike. I needed this. I'm all panicky-bathroomy-nutters. I'll go to my happy place before MCM. Good luck buddy!

B. Kramer said...

Have a calm start of the race. And unleash the beast to the finish. Cheers!

The Boring Runner said...

I remember reading an article about the inner calm. (Running times or something)

They were talking about how you have to stay calm - but to a point. If you're too lax you may run TOO big of a negative split and leave time on the course.

For some reason, before races, my nerves are always way worse the day before. you have the expo, all of the prep of setting stuff out, etc. Stressful!