Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Training & race day nerves

Since we're coming up on race season, I thought it was time to get real with you about something. 

I've been a runner since the early 90's, a triathlete since 2000 and in the fitness profession since the early 90's (I started in high school). Yet I still have thoughts before I go for a run like this 'I'm not going to be able to do this.' I still get nervous before a triathlon. Sometimes I feel too slow, who can relate?! That's right, your triathlon coach has feelings! 
Before my 1st Olympic distance triathlon.
I was nervous but ended up loving the distance

Before you think if I feel this way then you'll never feel better - let me tell you those thoughts and feelings are fleeting. Very fleeting because I've had years of swim, bike, run, training etc to draw upon. I know I am going to be ok. I know I can go out for a run, even when I don't feel like I can do it, because I've done it countless times. I've done it when I don't want to. I've ran many miles of intense, hot, humid, hilly, tiring miles and came out the other side just fine. Better than fine. Stronger, healthier and feeling great. 

I'm slow but who cares. I give 100% just like everyone does. I'm not a pro so I don't get paid for being fast or winning races. It's all for fun so I've learned to stop worrying and enjoy the ride.

Same goes for swim and bike. Years of doing events has taught me the feelings will come but I don't have to allow them to dictate my actions. I've learned to acknowledge my nerves but let them float past me without negative reaction. Sure it took practice, but it's worth it.
After a chilly half marathon in Indiana

Some people use nervous energy to get them pumped. I don't do that. I let them pass and move on with what I'm doing. They go away pretty quick if you don't feed them. You may be someone that getting pumped up works or maybe not, but whatever you do with your doubts and nerves never believe them. Don't react to the voice in your head telling you that you don't belong at an event, that you won't be able to do it, that you're too fat, too slow, unfit, don't have the right gear, didn't train well...whatever the voices are saying. I guarantee you it's lies. 

Remember that we all get doubts. We all have nerves that come up at the worst possible time. We all occasionally feel out of place or inadequate.  But with practice it gets easier to allow them to come and go, and realize you belong there just like everyone else and that's a great feeling. Keep doing what you love!