You know that stomach-churning, roller coaster feeling you get right before a big presentation? Or that nauseating, gut-wrenching feeling you get right before you get on stage to sing in front of a big crowd? Well, that same familiar feeling reappears when you’ve got pre-marathon jitters. Running a marathon, whether it’s a 6 mile, 13 mile or the full thing, is never “nothing”. It’s a great big, giant deal and it’s more than okay to treat it that way. You’ve been training for months and you’re nervous -- the pressure is on and it only makes sense to feel it. All of your time and hard work is dedicated to the next four or so hours of your life and you can’t mess it up. You somehow need to snap out of the jitters and get into the zone. Pull yourself together and take a few deep breaths -- in and out. Reflect on everything that got you to this point and clear your head as you gear up for that starting position.
Start by thinking back to the countless hours spent at the gym. When you weren’t trying to impress your trainer, you were focused on running as hard as you could on the treadmill, competing only against yourself. And when you weren’t panting and wheezing, you were wiping the hard-earned sweat from your forehead. This place, this challenging yet exhilarating place, may have sucked up all of your energy, but damn, it was worth it. You’re ready to run 26 miles and nothing will stop you!
Your SMART goals are yet another factor that helped you get where you are today. Having the goal to run this marathon and stay committed to your training plan for 20 weeks is going to pay off. You knew that by setting your mind to it, your goal could be achieved and you didn’t let anything stand in your way. Without setting this long-term goal for yourself, and surpassing each mini milestone along the way, you wouldn’t feel as accomplished and motivated as you do right now. So, there you go - bask in all its glory and start stretching!
Of course, you’ve always got your handy dandy playlist by your side. While you may not be able to have your support team running right next to you, you’ll have your favorite artists motivating you and pumping you up the whole way through. With a never-ending repertoire of fast-paced songs, you’re guaranteed to keep up the pace and master that steady cadence. Listening to a good workout playlist is the key to a successful marathon. Before the whistle even blows, hit that play button, get in the zone, and let the music move you!
The most obvious, yet most important factor about pre-marathon jitters, is to remember to STAY POSITIVE. You’ve made it this far, and you can’t give up now. You’re about to do exactly what you have set out to do for months and there’s no way you’re going to let yourself down. Brush off all of the negative thoughts and sweep away your fears. Who cares how long it takes? Who cares who’s watching? You’re doing this for you and no one else. Finish your last minute stretches, tie your laces tight and, most importantly, prove to yourself that you can do this.
Pre-marathon jitters can definitely get the best of us. Hopefully with our help you’ll see that there’s nothing to be afraid of and no reason to panic. Simply keep your head up and start running -- nothing can stop you now. On your mark, get set - GO!