Race Mentality. Pre Race thoughts

Photography: Jenna Mattox

This is a three part article about racing mentalities and positive approach.

Today’s post is:

Pre Race Thoughts: The Diverse approaches to racing, finding what works for you!

Coming up soon: 

Start line and Mid- race focus: Focus on the process, stay engaged and don’t  fixate on the result . We will also discuss fatigue as a mental struggle, not a physical one.

Post race feels: Appreciating progress and staying positive through the dark times.


Race situations and ways to approach them

Rust busters– When we remember how to race. First of the season, after a long hiatus or returning from injury. They usually feel good until around 75 % of the race then they hurt… A lot. But usually less the next time around and we can usually get a lot of fitness gains.

Qualifying rounds– Never easy, no matter what your seed time says. I always suggest treating these like a final and like your high school coach always told you ‘run through the line’. I’ve seen too many athletes already thinking they’re in the final and approach the race too relaxed, missing out on a qualifier.

Dont do anything crazy. Preserve energy while running smart and putting yourself in a good position to secure a qualifying spot.

Championship finals– You never know what you’re going to get.

Sometimes it is slow and tactical, sometimes someone heads out quick like a lamb to the slaughter. Prepare for everything and like Cory McGee suggests, play to your strengths!

Team events– distance relays. Something I could never get right, but from observing others (namely The Tennessee hall of fame- ies)  always play it safe and solid.

I was chatting to my teammates about racing mentalities and I was really interested in the diversity I was hearing.

There are many different avenues to successful race outcomes, you just need to figure out which one you respond well to. We share a few of the diverse race approaches on the team that have all seen some super sonic results.

The Team Run Eugene ladies fill us in…








Learn how your body responds best to certain situations and try to stick to that environment on race day.

If your best gal pal likes to approach her race the exact opposite to you, it’s best to save the socializing to afterwards so that you can be on the start line with your own successful mindset.

Check out: You do you and I’ll do me by Amanda Eccleston. An amazing blog post about focusing on yourself and individual preparation to get your best possible race result and sustain a healthy and focused mindset.



We like them. Make them large or small,  but make them.

You can think about goals this way: You could be the same fitness level as a teammate training side by side but she may have different race goals to you. You gals could be lining up to compete in the exact same race, but the approach within the race could be very different, so could the result.

But you both may reach your individual goal!!

Making big n’ brave goals is one way to go about racing and making SMART goals is another, there’s a time and a place for both.  It’s great to discuss goals with your coach to get on the same page.  She/He should have some valuable input in what your approach should be through the process of the race.

*Article two will discuss when it’s important to put goals aside and completely focus on the process*



Keep everything positive – Yes there are fears, but you’re strong enough to block them out. Keep everything positive and make cues that will flip your mindset back into the + zone! Think about how hard you’ve been working, mileage, strength or key workouts that have stuck by you. Think about ‘how much you want it’ on the start line and then go get it girl!


Visualizing winning, running fast, running with good form, passing people, finishing strong. These are all good tactics to a positive race result.  Watching past race videos and remembering how your ‘best races’ felt is a great way to replicate a mentally pleasing version of a race to come!


Keep everything the same. What you do in training to get ready for hard workouts I would suggest you apply to races. Your body then knows it’s time to work hard and you aren’t doing any new exercises or trying a new food that could have adverse affects.


Focus on what you can control to prepare for a race: some aspects become out of our hands like plane delays, lightning, Driver of your team bus has gone missing…it all happens.
There are a lot of things you can do to prepare for your best race. Make sure you have your spikes, race kit in hand luggage and close to you. Staying accountable to an early morning shake out, fuel your body with the right nutrients so it can perform it’s best. Being on time is pretty important, plan ahead, be professional and prepare. Be the best version of yourself on race day! Always put your energy into the positive things that you can control, rather than stress about what you can’t.


Coming back from injury: This is like a rust buster on crack and relies on a brave positive mindset. Sometimes we aren’t quite where we want to be yet, but the spring track season is here and we have to put ourselves out there. There’s no doubt about it that racing makes you fit, and once you get that first one out the way everything will start to feel better!

 C xox


We will be back in a couple of day with our tips on the ‘process of racing’ and the affects  fatigue has on the mind and body.

“Whether You Think You Can or Can’t, You’re Right” — Henry Ford



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