Signing up for a marathon for the first time, whether it’s half or full, is genuinely exciting. You are about to take part in an athletic event that only the most determined folks can complete. Even if you do not get a place on top of the leaderboard, the fact that you never gave up somewhere in the middle makes you deserving of claps and cheers from everyone.
Nevertheless, as the days become closer than ever to the marathon, it seems common for new participants to develop anxiety. Your hands may get clammy the more you think about the occasion. You might play terrifying scenarios in your head as well, such as falling on your face, collapsing, or feeling claustrophobic while running with thousands of individuals. This is anxiety taking over. “Anxiety disorders can severely impair a person’s ability to function at work, school and in social situations. Anxiety can also interfere with a person’s relationships with family members and friends,” says Shannon Sauer-Zavala, PhD et al.
In case you cannot shake off the anxiety and are on the verge of skipping the event altogether, check out the tips below on how to overcome pre-marathon anxiety.
1. Concentrate On Dependent Variables
From the moment you feel nervous about the outcome of the race, you should stop your brain from focusing on things that you have no control over, e.g., age, height, length of the marathon, location, et cetera. Thinking that you are too short or too old in comparison with other runners, for instance, cannot help you finish the course. Instead of pouring your concentration on those, it is better to try to manage the aspects that you can alter, such as your speed, health, sleeping habits, diet, and many more.
2. Get Rid Of Stress
Pre-marathon anxiety may have been induced by the simple truth that your stress level is at its maximum capacity. “Harnessing stress can be a powerful tool to trigger growth, as well as build the strength we need and want to be our best,” says Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, which is why you have to use the run to your advantage.
Aside from training, after all, it is possible that you have projects to accomplish in the office or children to take care of daily. Since all these activities are equally important to you, there is no way for you to put any of them on the bottom of your priorities, thus elevating your stress. Considering you wish to get rid of anxiety before the athletic event, therefore, you need to deal with the stressors immediately.
3. Remember Why You Signed Up
Anxiousness tends to make you forget why you want to join the marathon. Some do it to prove to themselves as well as to other people that they can crush their physical limitations. Others see the event as a testament to how much they have changed in recent years. Like everyone else, you should remember why you signed up for it in the first place.
4. Plan How You’ll Do The Race
Assuming no amount of pep talk can calm your nerves, you may speak with a fitness coach or veteran runners regarding race tactics. They will be able to share ideas on what to do during each leg of the marathon. They can also advise you on when you should either run or jog so that you may conserve your energy until the end. By planning days or weeks before the event, you can go to the location without worrying about the unexpected. “Worrying does not accomplish anything except feeling terrible,” said Alyssa Mairanz, LMHC, and with your marathon pending, you don’t need the negative baggage.
Pre-marathon anxiety usually sets in a runner’s mind when you have no previous experience to tap into. Everything is new to you; it’s hard to tell what can happen during the race. Nonetheless, if you heed the tips above, your chances of coming to the marathon with confidence may increase.