Tips for the Finish Line

by Mackenzie M. | May 14th, 2012 | Running

Half the battle of running a race, or running in general, is a mental one. Several magazines, websites, and coaches all fervently claim that the best way to run faster, or to finish a race with flying colors, is to develop a mental attitude that allows the body to let loose and run to the best of its ability. Believe it or not, negative thoughts can actually hinder speed and performance when running around the block, or when trying to finish the 10K that required months of training. Listed below are some tips for clearing the mind, to allow the body to cross the finish line with flying colors.

Don’t Overthink. Back when I used to run on a frequent basis, if I got on the treadmill and said, “this run is going to be horribly exhausting; I can’t do this,” then the run would be an awful experience. Thoughts of exhaustion, an obsession with running form, and even thinking about what others are thinking about you will absolutely hinder your performance. One motto mentioned in Women’s Health Magazine explains the perfect way to get over this. “Keep the motto of KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Running should be a time to clear the head, so let negative thoughts float away, and you will reach the finish line like never before.

Do Get Moral Support. Of course it makes running harder if thinking about the opinions of the people we run past. It becomes easy to focus on how your technique looks to others, or whether there is too much sweat on your brow, etc. An easy way to fix this is to find someone who will offer you unconditional moral support; this person is a cheerleader who will tell you how good you look when you run, or how much healthier you will be by running regularly. These positive vibes from a cheerleader can be the last ingredient to successfully finishing a 10K, or to simple running again for the first time in years. The best people for this job are significant others, parents, or even kids.

Take it Slow. It can be easy to get mentally frustrated if you try to do too much too fast. If it’s your first time running in years, start with a quick jog around the block. Building your physical stamina at an even, steady pace will allow your mental stamina to build up on a solid foundation as well. Keep your enthusiasm and motivation at manageable levels, and rather than burning out, you will succeed like never before.

Run Alone (When Appropriate). Having a supportive training partner is always good, but it can also lead to your ultimate running demise. This often happens when the partner wants to train at a much faster level than you, or has a different attitude to running. Running alone can be therapeutic, and it will help develop your motivational inner voice that can be a key piece in successfully completing a 10K, or simply making that second lap around the block.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.