Positive thinking can go a long way in running a good race!



Is it possible to run a good race even if 2 weeks before race day I took a 5 day road trip and then ran my long run just the week before? I think so.

I normally run my long run 2 weeks before my race (and I use the word race loosely because I am personally only racing against myself and my last finishing time), but this time around I wasn’t able to, and had to run my long run the week before. The week before a half is usually the week you taper, or decrease your mileage (2 wks if you’re running a marathon). This is  the week you let your body rest a little before the big day. Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned and we need to be flexible. (Runners are not flexible…physically or otherwise. We like structure and schedules. It’s what makes us disciplined.) Needless to say, changing my usual training schedule has played with my head.

The Mind Games We Play…

You probably have heard that running is mostly in your head. It is. Runners constantly play mind games with themselves. It’s not unusual for me to have thoughts going through my head as I’m running a half marathon such as: ” Okay, 2 miles done, that was easy. Another 2 miles will be 4 and 4 is almost 6 and 6 is almost halfway there.” or “Alright 6 miles! I’m almost halfway. I got this. At mile 7 I’ll walk a minute and eat a Gu and drink some water, then it’s almost done.” then at mile 10…”I only have 3.1 miles left. That’s a 5k and I can do a 5k easily.” This is how it goes the whole time, every time.

It’s the same with training runs, especially as you get closer to race day. Getting all your training runs in, not only help you get stronger physically but they help mentally too. If you have followed a strict schedule and felt good during it, then in your head you know “you got this”. But if you’ve had to miss some runs or had a minor injury, then you begin to doubt yourself (even if you are physically ready), and it’s that doubt that will wreck your race.

Mind over Matter

So back to the original question…Is it possible to run a good race after bad training? Of course I can. It may not be my best race, but with some mind games and positive thinking I can convince myself that “I got this!”. 🙂  If you find yourself in the same predicament just follow a few simple steps.

  • Think positive! 

    No use in worrying about things you can’t change. Instead think about what you can change, like your attitude. Be positive!

    If you had a bad long run, don’t fret, remember that every run is different. Think about all your good runs and visualize having a good race and a strong finish.

  • Eat healthy.

          Like they say “You are what you eat”.  Make sure you get enough protein (protein builds muscle) and plenty of veggies. Food is fuel and you need the best fuel for your best         performance. Having said that, this is not the time to experiment with a new diet. Just eat the healthiest of the foods you normally eat.                       

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

    This is something you should always be conscious of but more so during the week before a run. Water does fix everything.

    I saw this on Facebook today… 

water meme

  • Get plenty of sleep.

    The week before a race is not the time to stay up marathon watching a Netflix series. Go to bed early so your muscles can rebuild and regenerate.

  • Limit alcohol intake.

    Alcohol dehydrates you and messes with your sleep cycle. Save the wine for the finish line.

  • Don’t tryout a new workout.

    Unless cross-training is a regular thing for you, I don’t recommend starting now. Stick with what you do. Maybe a light yoga class to loosen up a little but no 30 mile bike ride.


Remember one cannot run on positive thoughts alone. The best way to have a good race experience is training and preparing. Running is the best way to become a better, stronger runner. These “rules/steps” won’t help a lot if you are a new runner and/or haven’t trained at all.  

Bottom line, train well, stay positive and don’t let negative thoughts interfere with having a good race day experience.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Keep running!

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