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Coach Carrie

Headspace for the Perfect Race Finding Your Winning Mindset Today and Every Day in 2015 By Carrie Barrett


f you've been following my training schedule for either the 3M Half Marathon or the Austin Half Marathon, you're just weeks away from your pre-race taper where training load decreases and mental preparation increases. Whether you are new to this distance or are an experienced half marathoner, the days and weeks leading up to the race are some of the most nerve-wracking and panic-inducing; you start to question everything. These are just a few of the pre-race thoughts that may plague your mind: Did I train hard enough? Will I hit my goal? What if something goes wrong? I’m here to tell you not to fret. Those feelings, ironically, are as normal as breathing. When you view something as overwhelming or scary, such as the start of a race, it engages what we know as the fight-or-flight response. You're excited, but an innate part of you is wondering how you can get out of the threatening situation. Those nerves are part of a hormone release that triggers cortisol secretion, increase blood sugar, quicken pulse, force shallow breathing and increase sweat. These normal pre-race hormone surges actually help prepare you for battle by giving you an extra jolt of energy. A little fear is good in competition because it means you care about the end result and want to do your best.

Did I train hard enough

So, how can you prepare to do your best, be in that winning mindset on race day, and toe the starting line feeling confident and self-assured? You write a script. Race day success is as simple as creating a series of habits and practicing them over and over again until they become routine. Much like how an actor can't just wing it on a Shakespearean play, you can't improvise your way through a long race. Practice may not make you perfect, but it can make you prepared. Here are a few tips on writing your race day script—which can also be found in my latest book, Headspace for the Perfect Race: Create a Winning Athlete Mindset:

Know how you're going to pace your race. Throughout training, you've practiced your pacing for both speed work and long runs. You set a time goal, and now it's time to script how you're going to get there. I recommend athletes start slower than their goal pace and finish fast. Some people run “even splits” or try to keep their pace relatively the same throughout the race.

Will I hit my goal

What if something goes wrong

92 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 01.2 015

January 2015 - The Best Of 2014 Issue  

We asked you to vote for the people and places that keep Austin fit. Here’s who and what made the cut.

January 2015 - The Best Of 2014 Issue  

We asked you to vote for the people and places that keep Austin fit. Here’s who and what made the cut.