Avoiding pre-race jitters

Pre-race jitters strike all runners indiscriminately. A variety of ways are used to ease away that nervous feeling. Some do it by stretching out in warm ups. Some clown around with their buddies at the starting line. Some choose to zone out by themselves with their earplugs on, with their favourite playlist.

There are some common methods to overcome pre-race jitters. Of course, consistent training and mental conditioning is what you do, as standard preparation. The more prepared you are, the less likely you will have amateurish anxiety attacks, caused by thoughts such as these:

“Will I finish the race?”

“Is there a toilet somewhere?”

“What if I really had to go to the toilet halfway? The coffee and banana breakfast does not feel good.”

“Is my coffee and banana breakfast enough?”

“What if I get hungry? Do they give out energy bars?”

“Water. Will they have water at the water stations?”

“Will my shoe laces get untied and I trip over and fall?

“Are there enough medals for me?”

Those lingering thoughts, funny as they may sound when you put in on paper, are quite real to some runners. Especially those who are doing it for the first time. It may be advisable to find out where the race venue is before the race day, to familiarize yourself with it surroundings and facilities (like the ever important toilet).

If you have trained well and have made all logistical preparations beforehand, you will worry less about such things on race day. Arrive bright and early to the starting line. Think about all the hard work you have put in. Imagine how great you will feel after you are done. With months of training under your belt, all those anxieties will become very small to you. After all, those petty worries are basically about food, water, and toilets. And clumsy accidents.

pre race jitters

On the other hand, some extremely serious runners have a different set of anxieties. Elite runners have trained all their lives, and may have some tried and tested formulas. Some may be a result of years of dedication. While some may be downright superstitious, such as:

“8 hours of sleep before the race day.”

“Pre-race dinner has to be pasta. Is must be pasta.”

“The bib number has to be pinned on, center and straight.”

“One can of isotonic drink first, then one bottle of water after. Must be after breakfast, must be in that order.

“This song plays right after gun-off. If it doesn’t, then bad things will happen.”

“Race day energy bar must be placed at the highest point in the fridge. Any lower, then it is defiled.”

“Only the Brooks shoe is used for racing, and nothing else.”

Oh well. Whatever works, to put you in the right frame of mind.

The biggest race in Malaysia is coming in 2 weeks’ time. On behalf of Brooks Malaysia, we wish you a good final 2 weeks of preparation. And of course, remember to run happy!

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