The final days leading up to a big race can include a mixture of emotional highs and lows. Mostly, we’re excited, especially if it’s the culmination of months-long training. We’re also nervous, restless, anxious even, about what’s to come. Can we just be at the start line already?
I’ve experienced all of these emotions many times over since becoming a runner. As fall race season gets underway, I’m guessing so many of us are right there (or will be soon). With about two weeks until my next bigger race — Emma and I have decided to run 13.1 together(!) at the American Home Fitness Detroit Goddess Half Marathon, 10K and 5K on Sept. 18 — the nerves are sure to start kicking in. We’re traveling north for the long holiday weekend, a trip I’m super stoked about, and along with having the chance to run in the U.P., I’m also looking forward to de-compressing (i.e. take some uninterrupted, focused time for myself and my family), which I think will go a long way in keeping me centered and as relaxed as possible as race day nears.
To get some more insight on the topic of treating ourselves right in the days leading up to a big race, I turned to a fellow runner who also will be a part of the Detroit Goddess races later this month: Fitz Koehler, fitness expert and the official 2016 Goddess Racing Series announcer (she’s the one who will get us extra pumped up throughout the race weekend — her zest for life and movement is infectious). Here’s what Fitz has to say…and if you are planning to be at the race (I hope so!), be sure to check out the two events she’ll be leading (more details at the end of this post).
With just a few weeks out from race day, what do you believe are the biggest hang-ups we runners can have in terms of our training and how we’re feeling (mentally and physically)?
Maintain your scheduled training if possible, but listen to your body. If your increased mileage has caused some issues, aches or pains (like plantar fasciitis or shin splints), don’t freak out. Just trade running for a killer, no-impact workout that’ll still push your legs and lungs while ensuring you don’t arrive on race day with a lingering injury to deal with.
Anxiety can really mess with your mind and your performance. So choose to deal with reality. You’ve CHOSEN to do this race because it will be fun and get you fitter. Nobody’s life is on the line, so there’s no reason to stress. Also, the 5K, 10K and 13.1 mile distances are really reasonable. So even if you’re just in moderate shape – you’ll surely make it to your finish line, even if you walk there. And remember, at Goddess events – the last finisher is celebrated just as strongly as the first finisher.
What has helped you personally when you’re getting closer to race day, particularly when the race is a big goal race as this one may be for many women?
Even though I take fitness and health very seriously, I participate in races for fun. Races fill my life with active adventure and wonderful new friends, so I tend not to throw in any negatives. I do, however stay low-key and lazy the day before a half marathon or other long distance event.
What are some ways we can stay sane and happy during the taper?
Train with friends and maintain variety! One of the things runners learn in my clinics is that they shouldn’t JUST RUN. Runners are faster, stronger and suffer fewer injuries when they have a well-rounded plan including strength training, stretching, balance training and a selection of OTHER cardio choices. Attend my Cross Training for Runners clinic at noon at the expo before race day. I’ll talk some long-term sense in to you! If you’re in for big fun and laughs, come to my Oh My Goddess presentation in the evening.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to over race weekend…
I LIVE for race day. My entire professional life has been spent working to convince people to exercise and eat right. On race day, I get to hang with thousands of people who have ALREADY chosen to do so! You’ve decided an endurance event was a great idea, you registered, paid, trained and arrived! I adore being able to meet, encourage, congratulate and celebrate each individual runner. Getting to spend some quality time getting to know many of the runners at the expo and at my clinics before race day means a lot. Definitely introduce yourself if you see me around on race weekend. Since I’ve been serving as the announcer and training expert for the Goddess events all year, I’ve already met so many athletes that I can’t wait to get back to. For me – the actual race day is just fun. While you’re all stressing about getting your bibs on right, I’m bubbling up with excitement about your arrival. I think about the fun we’ll have at the start line as a group and how I can’t wait to see each of you cross your finish line while I provide the rock star welcome you all deserve.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes! If you have any fear at all, it needs to go away now. Races are for fun and fitness and I promise, if you show up … you’ll finish with an intense sense of pride and accomplishment. The other great thing about the Goddess series is your fellow participants. We can all identify that girls can be mean. It’s sad, but true. But there’s something about these events that brings out nothing but love and support, comfort and enthusiasm for each other. The Gods and Goddesses who arrive on Belle Island September 18th, will become your best friends and supporters for a few hours. It’s absolutely magical. Also, I’m a big fan of new friends, hugs and shenanigans at the finish line. If you feel like cartwheeling through or dancing through it … do it! Can’t wait to see you all very very soon.
Fitness expert and TV personality Fitz Koehler is the official 2016 Goddess Racing Series announcer. Along with teaching to millions in person via corporate speaking engagements and seminars in over a dozen countries, Fitz has promoted fitness through every avenue of mass media: books, television, films, radio, magazines, journals, and online and is the founder of Fitzness and of the Morning Mile, a nationwide program aimed at improving children’s fitness. In addition to serving as Epic Races’ race announcer, Fitz is presenting two clinics, both on Saturday, Sept. 17: Cross Training for Runners at noon and Oh My Goddess! Pajama Party Pep Talk at 8 p.m. To register for these clinics, click here »
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