Race Day Anxiety & Resolution 10K Race Recap

I both love and loathe races. 

I LOVE the community, the volunteers, the comraderie of the other runners and the medals. And it is VERY convenient to have portaloos and drinks stations on the course. 

But when I’m actually racing, wow that is nerve wracking. Knowing that it is going to hurt, that you’re going to have to push, often from the startline, to get your very best effort. It’s not easy, but nothing worth having ever is. 

Race Day anxiety

I sat in our hire car* not really wanting to get out, not wanting to start the race. Or wanting to change to a 5K or take it easy…anything but a hard 10K! 

However I read something recently from Molly Huddle that really helped…

‘This is what I like’. 

We do this for fun, it’s our hobby. Of course, we put so much time and energy into running that of course we feel pressure and nerves on race day. We want to perform to our best ability, to meet our potential. But every race is a chance to learn, to see what went right, what could be improved on. Whether it’s a starting point for future training, an indicator of fitness or our goal race that we’ve been building up to for months. 

 ‘In the grand scheme of things, sports are a safe space to fail; those few hard losses are uncomfortable but they help remove the fear of imperfection. In this way, it’s actually making you more brave and more resilient for real-life adversity, and it’s fun in the meantime.’ – Molly Huddle 

There are so many things in our control on race day, and so many things that we have absolutely no control over whatsoever that its important to focus on the controllables and just do our best to react appropriately to those that we can’t. 

Race Day anxiety

Race Day anxiety

My race goal was to try to run sub 46 minutes in yesterday’s 10K, with the plan to start ‘slow’ and run a negative split. Of course standing in the queue for the loo at 7.14 (with a 7.15 race start) wasn’t an ideal start, neither was running my fastest mile as my first…. 

A great tip I was given to help with pacing (although apparently I didn’t pay enough attention at all), is to change your watch to half mile splits to give you more information on your actual pace so that you can adjust it before its too late. Often the current pace swings wildly and doesn’t give accurate feedback. 

So my first half mile was 3.30 (the plan was 3.49), and my second was 3.38. I felt great. As you always do in those first few miles before everything starts to hurt. 

And it did. 

Race Day anxiety

Mile 3, 4 and 5 were mentally challenging, and by the final mile I was counting down in 10ths of a mile. I had thought in the middle of the race that my sub 46 goal was totally gone, that I’d blown it. I was overtaken by two women at this point and I felt like I was going backwards. But it is during these tough points in races and workouts that you have two choices; give up or push as hard as you can and be proud of yourself regardless of the finish time, knowing you gave your all.

I switched my watch to average pace and overall time with distance and started doing some mental maths and realised that if I didn’t give up and kept clocking sub 3.50 half miles, that it was still possible.

My Mum was amazing and came out to cheer, catching me in three spots. That final mile I genuinely couldn’t even muster up a smile/wave, I just wanted to be done.

Race Day anxiety

Race Day anxiety

I found a tiny kick in that finishing straight, watching my Garmin seconds tick over and hoping I was going to make it. 

45.50 – I achieved the goal but completely messed up the plan. I went out hard, and crashed and burned. But at least I know what I need to work on, and it was a confidence that the fitness is there…somewhere! 

I also don’t think I was hydrated enough which is another thing I need to practice over the next 12 weeks. 

I took advantage of all the amazing freebies at the race finish line, including the massages, food stalls and the step & repeat board with Kim where we shared our running resolutions for 2020. 

Anyone else deal with race day anxiety? how do you tackle it? 

Race Day anxiety

Race Day anxiety

*We were gifted our Hertz hire car in exchange for coverage. We rented a 7 seater KIA that was more than big enough for us plus luggage and ferrying around my cousins and grandparents during the week – more info on our trip later this week. Find rentals at hertz.co.uk, pre-pay online for best price! 

7 Comments

  1. 13th January 2020 / 4:04 pm

    Strangely I get ‘the fear’ over shorter distances, I always manage to find an excuse to miss a park run and I hardly ever race a 5k. I’ve totally gone off racing altogether at times because I find the pressure of knowing my time and the worry that other people judge my time just gets to me. I’m much happier when I’m training for a long run, ticking the miles off at a slower pace and enjoying the process. After running a marathon last year I really slowed down and got used to taking the miles easier, since then I’ve struggled to push the pace back to where I was and I don’t really know what to do to get back there. I’m back in mara training now and doing some tempo and interval runs but most of them are slower.

    At some point I’ll get back out there and do some 5/10ks but for now I’ll just turtle along 🙂

    • 16th January 2020 / 4:03 pm

      I totally understand what you mean about the great confort that long run bring, when the goal switch from time to distance. I am preparing for my first marathon this year and I enjoyed the long run very much. Although, not sure about what stress state I will be at right before stating the marathon 😅.

      • 22nd January 2020 / 10:24 am

        Good luck with your marathon! Which one are you doing?

        Get plenty of sleep the week running up to the big day just in case you struggle the night before – that was the best piece of advice I was given last year. x

  2. W. Purves
    13th January 2020 / 8:15 pm

    Well done. Fine Hertz car. G

  3. 16th January 2020 / 4:06 pm

    Well done about the pace! Even though you wanted to handle your race differently, when a “bad” race ends up with the overall expected results it can be that bad 🙂
    Just ordered your book by the way 🙂 I am looking forward to start one of your recipes!

  4. Helen
    20th January 2020 / 2:26 pm

    Hi Charlie

    We would like to interview you on Wayne Lèal’s Super-Ageing Wellness show. It has over 90,000 listeners on the platform ‘Expatradio.uk’ reaching over 120 countries.

    🙏🏿

    Helen
    expat@superageingwellness.com

  5. 31st January 2020 / 12:30 am

    Love/ hate with races for sure!