Combating pre-race nerves and performance anxiety

I have my first half-marathon coming up in two weeks and it’s safe to say I’m scared/nervous about it. As somebody who’s been unfit for most of her life, I never thought that I would be able to take on a challenge like this.

I’m not sure if it’s a lack of confidence or the fear of the unknown, but as 13 October comes creeping up, I find myself getting more and more anxious. Is is just me, or is this something that all runners face when they’re gearing up for their biggest challenge yet? I’m not sure.

A few weeks ago, I was running three times a week and comfortably upping my distance. This felt great and I was really happy with my progress. Unfortunately, I then sprained my ankle at netball and couldn’t train for over two weeks.

On the grand scheme of things, two weeks seems like nothing but it’s made a massive difference, particularly mentally. I’ve struggled to get myself back into the zone, which I think is the main cause for my anxiety.

I know my body can do the distance, so getting through the half marathon is turning into more of a mental challenge for me. I need to make some changes to ensure I’m mentally prepared on the day.

Usually, I run with headphones in but I’ve found this can sometimes make me feel a bit isolated. So I’m going to switch it up for the Manchester Half, and run socially with people of a similar pace. Luckily, I have my fantastic pals at Victoria Park Running Club who I know will help me through it.

I have also decided not to set myself a target time since it’s my first attempt at a half marathon. Over the last few months, I’ve spend so much time looking at race time estimators and race pace calculators online to work out what target I should set. This now feels like another added pressure, making me even more worried.

So, I’ve decided to abandon my usual goal-focused approach, where I’m always trying to beat my last time, for this race. Instead, I just have one aim – to enjoy it!

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