Race season is in full swing!
Lots of races up and down the country and not forgetting the Marathons.
Something which I frequently get asked is “how do you keep motivated?”
I’m not going to lie, the last few months over winter it was incredibly hard.
I can let you know I was recently diagnosed with acute anaemia. There are indeed much worse things to have wrong with you. Heaps of them. However the problem was I had no idea I was anaemic for months, and the symptoms are EXCATLY the same as being hugely unfit. Out of breath, dizzy spells, tiredness, lethargy, all things which could be attributed to something else. We all get tired right? (I also had tinnitus, pica and my hair was falling out… but I did not put these things together)
Consequently running was very hard work, in fact it was getting worse and worse. I could not understand why it was all so hard, I thought I was just unfit.
It was making me sad. It culminating in a soul destroying terrible race experience in the Pilgrims Ultra.
I was knackered from walking up the stairs, so 66 miles felt herculean. Quite possibly he hardest thing I have done physically and mentally. It was only a chance blood test that I found out.
After various tests and my very lovely Doctor prescribing me on 2000% of my Iron RDA have I started to feel better. MUCH BETTER.
It turns out that if you run lots, you need more iron than you think to keep reserves up. You all probably know this, but it had not occurred to me at all.
It couldn’t come soon enough. My trio of races commences days away (London Marathon, one week later Boston Marathon, then the following week Thames Path 100 miler) I have left it far too late to do any proper training for these with my new oxygen rich blood.
However the most important and often overlooked thing to have ready on race day is your mind. And I have one of these! (Questionable)
Stand at the start line resolute in your mind you will finish, and you will finish.
Have you ever had one of those days training when you think “ahhh, this is not going my way?” and once that is in your head it’s all too hard? Or conversely “This feels brilliant!” and then happy thoughts make the run feel like a breeze? Obviously there are other contributing factors here, but one thing that 100% helps is staying positive during a race.
During a race there are often times when it all seems very hard. Maybe 2/3rds of the way in it will suddenly seem like a long way, and you are tired. Deploy the positive thoughts!
Things that can be useful are imagining crossing the finish line victorious. Think about the things you will do after the race. Pub? Chips? Hot bath? Hugs from your kids?
Perhaps not so positive, but encouraging enough.. I think about those that have had a twinkle of doubt in their eyes that you can finish the race. “I’ll show you!”
If you are running for a charity, think about all those that put faith in you by sponsoring. Perhaps the best one is to imagine the juicy medal around your neck and telling your friends and family.
Yeah… You finished. Race? IT’S DONE! Look at my medal.
If you are racing soon, all the very best! GO SMASH IT. Strong mind, strong body.
And eat some greens for goodness sake.