I'm running a 5k tomorrow and trying to precisely manage the anxiety without disrespecting the distance. There's always this part of me that wants to be like "so what" (pffft 3.1 miles whatever) because deep down I know if I do it right, it's going to be hard AF.
I was conversing about this with myself on my entire shakeout run this morning - having a pretty insightful chat, and that's when I decided to write this blog.
I'm always nervous before a race. It can be kind of annoying. What am I worried about exactly? I've always thought it was the race but today I realized, that doesn't make sense.
The race itself is actually the least anxious I am during the entire season. When I cross the starting line, I'm in. For better or for worse (until death), I couldn't care less about the past or the future. I'm just trying to survive.
If we want to race with more confidence, the first thing we need to realize is that the race isn't the problem.
Our biggest challenge doesn't hit us at mile 20 or when we accidentally went out at mile pace racing a 5K. The race is what it is and we don't have time to worry about it when it's happening. The truth is that most of us don't train for what it is we actually fear. The end of a training season. After it's over. When the race is behind us. That's what we're anticipating long before we enter the corrals. It's the aftermath that scares most of us. And, I mean, who isn't afraid of math?
A value in math is the worth of each digit. Our value as a runner is the worth we associate with each result. So then, to solve this equation we need to deal with the variables which are our values and their worth.
When we tie our worth to values rather than numbers, we can perform with confidence. Our values help us answer things like: What are you going to do when it feels challenging? How will you respond to a good or bad race? Why do you run?
If we're depending on race results to answer these questions, we're going to be scared. If we want to race with confidence, we need to know these answers before we cross the finish line.
The race isn't the problem or the answer to our insecurities but it is the only way to answer the most important question we should be asking as we fight to the finish "but what if I can?"