After what seemed like forever, road racing has opened back up again! As a coach, I have had 4 runners participate in, in-person endurance events since May. Over the next couple of weekends, I have a bunch of runners competing in races. This is such an exciting time!
Is it really an exciting time? Not for everyone and for a coach that considers her runners her babies, it is a bit sad. You know how every parent wants the best for their kids and to only see them happy. This is the moment we have been waiting for, so this should be exciting. The running community didn’t stop running when we had to stop doing everything else we enjoyed during the pandemic. We kept up with the commitment to self and tried to lift each other up as best as possible along the way.
Now we have races rescheduled to traditionally hotter times of the year in CA (October), as well as now, when heat waves are sweeping the country. Is performance anxiety creeping up on you? Does this mean you should give up on your goals entirely, because the weather gods are not cooperating for your optimal racing conditions? I hope not.
When you start a training program, goals should be Achievable, Believable, and Committed (you). Yes, A.B.C.! It is my job as the coach to tell my runners if goals are achievable, then they believe in themselves and remain committed to the program. What happens on race day started long before you showed up to the starting line. The hardest part, months of grind is done. You show up now for the grand finale.
What do we do when the weather in unfavorable? Show up with a positive attitude and allow yourself to feed off the energy of a REAL race! Stay committed to your goals and fight for it as long as you can during the race. I like to focus on something greater than me. Think about someone you know that is fighting a real-life struggle. Think about someone not fortunate to toe the starting line as you are. You may be pleasantly surprised with your mental game.
Adjust your goals in real-time if you are unable to rise above the conditions. Slow your pace by XX seconds per mile and hold onto it. This should be your last option, not your first option before starting the race. Perhaps you switch to process goals, where your goal is maybe to just not walk, regardless of how slow you may be running. Lastly and most important, show yourself kindness if you do have to pivot your goal in real-time. Be proud that you tried and did not give up before the starting gun went off.
I could not be prouder of my running tribe for the commitment they have made to themselves over the last 1.5 years of pandemic madness! Win or lose at their goals, I will remain proud knowing they gave their best on the day.