Especially intended for those racing in San Antonio this weekend, this bit of confidence-boosting pre-race advice from coach Amy Anderson is excellent for any runner, at any point in their training, to be reminded of.
If it’s your first marathon, you wonder if you can run 26.2 miles. You haven’t done it in training, so how do you know if you can do it on race day?
If you have a time goal, you wonder how you can run 26.2 miles and average MGP while doing it. You’ve done all your long runs at long run pace. Maybe a few MGP miles thrown in a Lab, certainly some quality workouts at MGP, but not 26 of them! So how do you know if you can do it on race day?
It can be a very scary thing to wonder if you can run an average of marathon goal pace for 26.2 miles, because it isn’t something you can “test” in training. You can practice by running a few miles at MGP. You can practice by running some [very] long runs. But you can’t put it all together in training, because the risk of injury and burnout are too high. Race day is “exam day” and it’s normal to wonder if you’ll pass or fail.
So how do you know?
Trust your training. Similar to studying for the final exam, you’ve done all the work. Your training is behind you and you did it. You went to class (your quality workouts and long runs), you did your homework (your midweek runs). [And by the way, if you didn't, you can decide next time what you want to do differently. But for now, own your training; it is what it is] Trust your training. Believe in it; it will pay off. It’s worked for hundreds of other Rogues and it will work for you.
Trust yourself. You have to believe that your goal is achievable. You CAN perform up to your capabilities. If you’re having trouble buying into that, trusting that you can do it, then review your 10 positives. Put them on post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, the dashboard of your car, your computer screen. Carry them with you everywhere you go for the next couple of days. Trust yourself. You can do this.
And then there are the words of a very famous, very successful coach, Dr.George Sheehan :
“Trust in the magic of the day.” That quote is in my head before every race I do. You can do things on race day that you simply can not do in training. You draw energy from the spectators and from other athletes. You have supported aid stations all along the way. You’re tapered, rested, well nourished. Race day is the peak of your mental and physical training. When it all comes together on race day, it is magical indeed. Trust in the magic of the day.