As I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s post I will be running my first ever 10K tomorrow! Somehow I survived 4 years of collegiate running without racing the dreaded 25 lap race and 5K road races always seem easier to find than 10K’s (and they’re easier to convince family and friends to run with you!).
I am nervous about this 10K because I have an idea in my mind of how fast I would like to run but I have no experience in this distance so its hard to set realistic and attainable goals. I wasn’t really nervous before my first marathon because 26.2 miles is a LONG way so even just finishing is a great feat, but I should be competitive at a 10K, right?
After my quick shout out about the race yesterday my mind started racing and my stomach started churning. I was stressing out and thought: Am I ready for a race? I haven’t done any workouts geared towards a 10K! 6.2 miles – what kind of pace can I hold for that long? How fast to I have to run for coach/Henri/me to be proud?
The mental aspect of running, and specifically racing, has always been really hard for me. It wasn’t until my junior year in college, when I was regularly racing the 3000m steeplechase, that I started the realize the importance of training your brain. The steeplechase is a tough race both physically and mentally because you are LITERALLY jumping over barriers!
At the time I read a great article in Runner’s World (I loved it so much I stole the issue from the school library, shhhh!) about Kara Goucher’s psychological struggles. In the article Kara talks about the importance of affirmations and key words. In the steeplechase my key word was “attack” – as in attack the hurdle not the other runners – and it reminded me 5 times each lap to give that jump everything I had not let that barrier stand in my way.
“Attack” doesn’t really seem applicable to any other race besides steeple so last night I took the time to sit quietly and reflect on what word(s) will encourage me to give it my all on Saturday. After a lot of thinking I settled upon the word “PUSH“. In longer races like the 5K and 6K I tend to slow down without even realizing it, and throughout the 10K tomorrow I want to encourage myself to PUSH – PUSH through the pain, PUSH up the hills, PUSH when I want to pull back, PUSH through the mental block!
I will be chanting this mantra from the time the gun goes off until I cross that finish line 6.2 miles later.
I won’t stop. I will PUSH harder. I will keep going!
Until I toe the line tomorrow morning I am going to consciously fill my head with these positive affirmations…
By the end of the day tomorrow I will have grown as a person and as a runner – because the 10K is definitely a distance that I am not comfortable with and getting out of your comfort zone helps you to grow!
I can handle my body failing me or not performing to my expectations but my mind will not fail me tomorrow, I will PUSH through mentally and learn how to get tough – a tool I will need in order to reach my marathon goals this year! I will not give up!
And when Henri and I go out for dinner to celebrate at Cheesecake Factory I will eat a whole basket of their brown bread without remorse – and get to say to those giving me strange looks…
For those of you who have run a 10K, any advice you can share about the distance?
Have you ever used the “It’s fine, I ran today” excuse? When? Why?
All the time, especially on long run days and after races!
What do you do to celebrate after race?