Great tips from Kenyan Way describing five excellent ways to beat anxiety on race day (this was sent in the final days preceeding the Houston Marathon):
Get Focused on Your Body
Good athletes know their bodies well. It is important to be present and aware of how you are breathing, what your muscles are doing, etc. Take some deep breaths. Count up to four or five as you inhale and out to five or six as you exhale. This will help you relax and stay in your body. While your competitors will be stressing out and wasting energy, you will be able to stay positive and perform well.
Trust Your Training
There is an old farm saying that goes, “The hay is in the barn.” What this refers to is that there is a time when a farmer cuts his hay, bales it up, drives it into the barnyard, and stacks it in the barn. When this is done it is a huge sigh of relief. You know the animals will be fed for the winter. The same applies to your race day. Your “hay” is in the barn. You have done all the training up to this point and have earned the right to celebrate your skills on this important day. Don’t try to sneak in any more training or try something different at the last minute. Trust that your body and mind are ready to compete and enjoy the race.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Distracted
While others may be distracted by weather or the conditions of a track or course, you should stay focused and do what you came to do. Distractions take energy away from you. Conserve that energy for the race. Stay on task by visualizing yourself running strong and fast.
Use Your Recall Button
Great athletes do not predict their next move or action based on their last failure. They stop, do a little positive self talk, replay a great race in their head, and perform in the way they know they are capable. Hanging on to a less than stellar event will affect your performance. Recalling a past successful race will help you perform at your peak.
Prepare Yourself for “Glitches”
We are good at visualizing great race strategies and seeing ourselves move up through the pack. What we also need to do is to prepare ourselves for those times when our bodies throw us a “glitch”. This might include a potty break, muscle spasm, a side ache, a fall or a slow start. Visualize this and then see yourself recover from it immediately. Having this image will help reset you on the path to success without losing ground or wasting energy.