The 16th annual Seek the Peak returns on June 16 and we want to make sure that you're ready to crush the course on race day. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!
Today our Seek The Peak Trainer, Marieve Legrand shares some tips on how to prepare mentally to take on the course.
Training… it’s not just for your legs.
Any goal we set can be achieved with a combination of both physical and mental preparation. For running, this is especially true when it comes to increasing distances and tackling more challenging terrain, such as trails and hills. Obviously, at certain times, those two worlds will have to rely on each other to keep you going. You will encounter days when it’s harder to “get out the door” for a run, but once you are out, the legs actually don’t feel too badly, and you come home fully energized. Alternatively, such as on race day, your body may be screaming at you to slow down or literally stop; so your head must take over and cheer you on.
As you prepare and train, there are a few tips that can help with mental preparation. In return, they can also end up enhancing your physical strength and ability.
Visualize the course – train on it if you can; see yourself on it. Be aware of the more challenging sections when you know you’ll have to work harder. At the same time, visualize the parts where you know you can relax a bit more and catch your breath in order to tackle the next section.
Set small goals throughout your training – make sure you reward yourself. For example, think about selecting a portion of the course you feel is challenging for you. It might be a steep hill, or a section of stairs. Focus on training on this and look for improvement – a faster time, easier perceived effort, etc. This allows you to keep perspective. Race day may be the end goal, but remember that you are getting fitter every day once you start training.
Try to train on harder terrain, or less than ideal weather conditions. Find steep hills, technical trails, practice running fast – and faster – downhill. Go out in the pouring rain, or hotter weather. Get your body used to different conditions because you can’t predict what race day will be like. The more you’ve exposed yourself to different situations, the less unsettling it will be if something “doesn’t go according to plan” on the big day.
Picture yourself at the finish line and celebrate your accomplishment when you get there. Be aware of the exhilarating feeling that will rush through your body after crossing the finish line. Allow yourself to enjoy it, and fully acknowledge it. You deserve it, and it feels amazing!
Post-race “lows” - it’s also helpful to recognize that this feeling of euphoria will fade and potentially make you question your motivation to keep running – or racing. This is a normal part of the cycle. You train and prepare for an event and often, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the high… and potentially the low. This can be managed by preparing yourself to face it. It’s ok to not want to run after a big race or challenge. It’s more than ok to take time to recover and do something else. Give yourself time to rest and let your body tell you when it is ready to put on those running shoes again!
Set long term goals – look beyond that finish line. Knowing that life goes on afterwards, and that perhaps having another long term goal beyond this might help. Everyone’s reasons for running are different, but if we break it down to its simplest form, running is an efficient way to remain fit, healthy and fuelled by endorphins! Who wouldn’t want to keep this as a long term goal?!
Remember that this is a privilege. You are healthy and have the time to run. These should be happy moments (for the most part)!