Mental tips for the week of a race + always with us.

(Tank, shorts, bra… back to summer weather in Utah again;)

That was fun.

I decided to get in a mile in my new Hyperion Elite 2s before the race, and they seriously made me feel like I was flying.

I’m excited to see how I do racing in these shoes.  I’ll write a full review after I race in them, but I’m extremely impressed so far.

I looked back at the last time I raced a half-marathon and saw that I did just one mile fast a few days before the race, so I decided to do that yesterday.

3 mile w/u, 1 mile @ 5:48, 3 mile c/d.

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Skye is still obsessed with Cosmo even though she was terrified of him when we met him.  Cosmo gets his own shoes and seatbelt, and she also requests we listen to the BYU fight song the entire time we are in the car.

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Cosmo is always with us.

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After school, we spent the day celebrating this amazing human.  I first met him when he was three, and somehow he is nine years old now.

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Beck was very interested in the present opening process.

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All Knox requested for his bday was video game playing, lego building, and pizza eating.  All three items on his agenda were accomplished.

And then we went to the race!

ALL THREE KIDS WENT THE ENTIRE 2K WITHOUT WALKING/STOPPING?   They were on fire!

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Let’s talk about race week!  The physical work is DONE, and now it is time to focus on the mental work.  Give your body and mind the time you need to rest and relax, and here are some things that I recommend doing for your mental game the week of a race.

*If you are feeling nervous, that is okay!  It means you care.  If the nerves are getting to you, I suggest getting outside to take some deep breaths.  Being outside always helps me with whatever perspective shift that I need.

*Can’t sleep the night before the race?  Yeah, me neither.  Some of my best races ever have been done off of VERY little sleep the night of the race, BUT the nights before that (2 and 3 days before the race), I make sure to get extra sleep.  I know I won’t sleep the night of the race, so I ease that anxiety by getting extra sleep the week of the race.

*To go along with that, the week of my best races, I’ve always had a run or two or three that feel awful.  I wonder how in the world I am going to hit paces two + minutes faster per mile than what I am struggling to hit during a run that week.  It’s just part of the taper for me so if you have that problem too.. it will all work out!

*Look back at that training cycle you have completed and pat yourself on the back!  Have confidence; you have proved that you are strong and that you can do hard things.

*Take some time to write out everything you can think of to help you for your race.  These are my notes from before my last big race!  Skye added to my notes;)

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*Your people will love you no matter what happens on race day!  It’s your time to go out and do your thing.  Remember, you are enough no matter what happens out there.

*One of my favorite parts from Let Your Mind Run, “Indian researchers investigating the “biochemistry of belief”— a phrase I love because it captures the mind-body connection so precisely— wrote that “each and every tiny cell in our body is perfectly and absolutely aware of our thoughts, feelings, and of course, our beliefs… If you believe you are fragile, the biochemistry of your body unquestionably obeys and manifests it.  If you believe you are tough, irrespective of your weight and bone density, your body undeniably mirrors it.”  The body experiences joy at the cellular level.  Satisfaction, gratitude, and other positive emotions keep stress hormones at bay.  Social connections and purposes are like “nutrients for the human body,” another researcher wrote.”

BELIEVE you are tough and surround yourself with people that build you up and want the absolute best for you.

*Come up with a fun reward… A new workout top, a fancy restaurant, a massage, time in the mountains with your best friend?!  Come up with something that will motivate you to hit your goals.

*Visualize a successful morning.  Close your eyes and picture things going smoothly in your prep race morning.  Visualize your body feeling strong and healthy.  See yourself hitting your pace goals and fueling/hydrating right when you need to.  Most importantly, picture yourself crossing that finish line with the time you are chasing.

*Smile every single time you think of the race leading up to it!  It works. Try it and let me know how it goes.

*Write small your goals on your wrist.  Every time you glance down at your watch during the race you remind yourself of your goals, and you get to be stubborn about those goals.

*Watch things like this to inspire you!  DES LINDEN BREAKS THE 50K RECORD:

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Share your mental tips for race week, please!

What shoes do you like to race in?

What’s your favorite hobby to do besides running (this question is from Knox:)?

What’s the best part of your Wednesday going to be?

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33 comments

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That’s amazing all 3 kiddos ran the entire race! They must be pretty proud of themselves.

My mental tip for race week is to not check the weather until two days before lol. Otherwise I get so stressed about it which is dumb because I can’t control the weather so why get worked up about it.

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Seriously. It was a very proud parenting moment:). THAT IS THE BEST ADVICE. Yes yes yes. That reminds me that I haven’t checked the weather yet and I won’t until I’m packing after your awesome tip. Thanks friend!

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Thanks for sharing that Des Linden video, so inspiring! I really love how open she is with the process and finding love for running again.

I haven’t done a race in so long, but going to try to remember that the pain is worth it. It shows I can do hard things and push myself to go further. But at the end of the day, running is for fun! So I also want to enjoy the process and celebrate being able to race again!

Happy belated birthday Knox! Outside of running I like to read and bake.

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Of course! It really was such an awesome video! Running is for fun…. finding that balance between pushing ourselves and enjoying it is so important. Thank you Mariah and I’m with you, reading and baking are the best. Happy Wednesday!

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Oh I love these tips on your mental strength so much! I think I need to read Dena’s book again. So much good stuff from that.
I realized during/after my half a few weeks ago, that I have lost my mental toughness. Especially during those moments of the race when you want to just be done. It was frustrating and a little sad, but also has given me focus and direction as to what I need to work on for the next race. So I’m excited for the next training block!
In my best races, the week leading up to the day, I have the worst runs. But somehow on race day, it all comes together and I could fly!
Oooo…. One of my other favorite hobbies is pilates and yoga! I love my weekend yoga class after a week of lots of running. It really helps stretch everything out, keeps things loose, and puts my mind in a great place. I also love to do anything outside… Walk, yard work, read. Great question Knox!
I love my Wednesdays and Thursdays! Those are the days I volunteer at the college food pantry. And today, I finally have time to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up all the good fall/pumpkin stuff!
I’m glad you decided to run a little in the new shoes. Just so you’ll know what to expect on race day. 3 more days!!
Have a great day Janae 😊

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Thank you Wendy! I don’t think you lost it, it had just been so long since we have all been in racing mode because of the pandemic! And it just takes a race or two for us to remember again:). You are amazing and you’ll have to keep me updated with what is next! What is it about those runs the week of a race?! I want to come to your weekend yoga class. ENJOY TJ’S! Thank you so much friend. I hope you do too!

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Good morning, Janae! It has been too long since I have been able to comment, but have been doing my best to stay caught up with your posts, because they are such a bright spot in the day :o) Brooke, Knox, and Skye should be so proud of their races – they did a fantastic job!
I don’t tend to have a lot of anxiety before races, but there are a few nerves usually as I’m waiting to start. I try to remind myself that I have done the work and now I need to relinquish control and trust what I’ve done. Also, I am meticulous about prepping everything the night before (sometimes even two days before) – clothes, shoes, fuel – right down to which pockets will hold what. I have also had great luck with two full days off before longer races.
I don’t tend to switch up my shoes for races and just use the ones I have trained with.
Good question from Knox :o) If I can have two choices, it would be painting (pictures, not walls haha!) and skiing.
Best part of Wednesday happened at 8:00 this morning when I was able to meet the coach for the new running group I am joining. Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about the group offered through my running store, but then this opportunity popped up and I’m excited about it! Have an awesome Wednesday, Janae!!

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JANINE! It’s so great to hear from you. Thanks for letting me be able to be a part of your life and for your sweet words. I love what you said about relinquishing control… I need that reminder for so many different parts in life. Isn’t the prep the night before so fun and I loved reading how detailed you are. I’m thinking I’m going to take the next day or two completely off too. PAINTING… that is awesome! And if you ever come to Utah, let’s ski together. Keep me updated on this new group, I am thrilled for you.

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I am so excited for your race this weekend! Alongside your family, your readers (like me) are cheering you on and super impressed that an amazing mom, wife, and dedicated blogger (YOU!) has managed to do all this training given all the pulls and pushes from different demands in your life. You are a rockstar and an example to many of us mere mortal runners no matter what the time on the clock says!

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I needed this post today! I am getting a little anxious for my race this weekend. I am trying to bank sleep over the next few days.
I have been watching Michael Phelps visualization videos in the last few days. Just passing the time until race day!
Good luck with your taper!

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MOLLY! You have trained so hard for this marathon, I am so so excited for you. You’ve got this! Off to go find those videos, thanks for sharing. Thanks Molly and you too!

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Thank you Nadya, that all means so much to me. Thank you thank you thank you. I am so grateful for your friendship. I hope the three of you are having an amazing day in Boston!

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Don’t the Hyerpion Elite 2s feel like they are spring loaded? Love them.

One of my mental tricks for racing is twofold: I work to stay in a positive mindset, and to do that, I need to have enough fuel. So I take in my gu/etc on schedule and take in more if I start to feel low/angry. While some negative thoughts will come in, still, I try to put them aside and reframe them in a positive way.

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SPRING LOADED… absolutely 100% yes. Perfect definition. I cannot wait to race in them. Okay, that trick is perfect and something that we can all agree on. Love this. Thanks for sharing and I hope your day is a beautiful one!

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Happy belated birthday to Knox! He’s a rock star :)
Answer to his question: besides running, I really like to read books that help me imagine things that are different from my life.
Celebrating my oldest daughter’s birthday today…she’s not nine anymore, but she’s awesome, too.

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Thank you Corey and I will have him read your comment! You are going to have to share with me some of your favorite books that do this… I would love to join you in that! HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY to your oldest daughter. I hope you both have the best day!

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I’m running Boston this year and know this course also psychs me out. I have been constantly flip flopping between pure, unparalleled joy, and crippling nerves. (Guess which one is more enjoyable). Yesterday i started a tiny field notes book and put a quote from Deena Kastor/Bravey/anything else I can think of on each page that I intend to read every morning and night leading up the race. My favorite so far, that without fail gives me goosebumps every time is:

The devil whispered in my ear, “you are not strong enough to withstand the storm.” Today, i whispered in the devil’s ear, “I am the storm.”

I plan on even writing it on my racing shoes. Hope it helps some other runners here feel powerful and strong on race day :)

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Annie! I am SO so excited for you to run Boston! I love what you are doing with your notebook of quotes that you are reading each morning. What a wonderful idea and that quote gave me goosebumps. I’m going to be writing it down and using it now! LOVE that idea of putting it on your racing shoes. SO excited for you, Annie! Please let me know how it goes.

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Happy Birthday Knox! Tell him that my second favorite hobby (after running) is reading. I’m currently re-reading all the Harry Potter books and loving them just as much the second time.
That is TOO CUTE about Skye and the BYU football game- I guess we know what college she’ll be going to!

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Jenny. He is REALLY going to love your comment because he loves Harry Potter too:). Keep enjoying! Haha I think you are very right about that, she is obsessed with BYU now. Hope you are having a great afternoon!

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Happy Birthday Knox !! Good luck with your race !! I just love seeing your kids run their races.

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Thank you so much Michele! That means a lot. I hope you have the best day!

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Read Derek Hough’s Instagram on “Handling Nerves”. It is from 2 days ago. You will agree with everything he says, and a good reminder for pre-race night and morning.
Love watching your kids run. Love, as always, following your running journey. Have a great race!

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Wow. That is the best thing ever. I’M EXCITED! Thanks for sharing that with me. I just need you to write a daily blog post for me so I get to see everything going on in your world… or just come move to Utah and be my neighbor?

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Hi Janae!

I’m running a half marathon Saturday as well and I’ll be mentally cheering you on. (I run about double your pace though lol – but my goal is always to improve.)

My mental strategies are positive thinking and mantras, like “I can do hard things”, and just focusing on one mile at a time, because that’s how I will get through the race.

I also run in memory of my Uncle, who was a runner and passed away from cancer. If he could run the Boston Marathon while battling the disease, I know I can do this.

And let’s be real – I’m also thinking about food during the race, like what we’re going to be eating for dinner – and that gets me through.

I hope you do great in your half!

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Oh this makes me so so happy! GOOD LUCK ON SATURDAY! That is why we all understand each other so well… the goal is to always improve. AMEN! Your uncle ran the Boston Marathon while having cancer… he sounds like an incredible person. I fully agree with you thinking about the post-race food. Let me know how your race goes on Saturday, I’m cheering for you!

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The second half of a race I play a game where each person I pass is $5.00 (or $1.00) and the total is something I get to buy for myself. :)

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I will absolutely be copying you with this. GREAT IDEA! Hope your day is a great one and that you have a race soon where you get to play this game.

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LOVE your race day tips! I have my first official 10K in November and my first half-marathon in February and I am so excited! I love the idea of treating yourself after a race; I have been wanting a Garmin Fenix 6, so I am thinking of doing that as a combined race reward/Christmas gift! Also, loving Let Your Mind Run! I am trying to read it slowly and not speed through it because it is SO GOOD and has so many great mindset shifts; I don’t want to breeze past anything. Lastly, CONGRATS Brooke, Knox, and Skye for your 2K- y’all are amazing! And since I don’t want Beck to feel left out, congrats to Beck for being the absolute cutest future runner! Happy Wednesday!

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Emily! I am SO so so excited for your first official 10k in November and then your first half in February. Will you please keep me updated with your training and how it all goes! I’m guessing you live somewhere warm because of the timing of your races. I FULLY support the Garmin Fenix 6 purchase for your reward. Such a good idea. Keeping enjoying the book, it was life-changing for my running. Thank you so much sweet friend… that means a lot. Enjoy the rest of your day:)

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This post is fire, and since you wrote it you are fire! 😊

Hearting Amy Stephens comment, and it dovetails nicely with your bullet about buying something for yourself. So, it’s tied to race PERFORMANCE!!! Yes, yes, yes, yes. Also, it’s extra. It’s not relationships or love. As it should be!!!

Have to say the biggest heart today comes from what you shared from the Indians. Thinking this is the India Indians, not Native Amercians. I’m sure its Googleable.

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This was a great post to read! I’m still in the training process for my upcoming half marathon on Oct. 24th. I haven’t run any amount of distance in almost 4 years! I’m terribly nervous and have been trying to prevent an IT band flare which I always struggle with and usually end up with a cortisone shot. Of course this past Sunday I ran 10mi and did a really hilly route. It felt great! But I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible cramps and for the next few days I felt like I had the flu with a fever and I think I’ve got an ab strain on one side. I have read about runner’s flu on your page and wonder if it was was that or an immune response to the ab overuse. Needless to say, I’m concerned because I’ve had to skip running all week and not sure I should do a long run when I still have side pain. I’m trying to stay out of my head and just do what I can do safely. I love reading your blog and good luck on your race!

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