“Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” — Henry David Thoreau
Your race is fast approaching and you have trained diligently for this moment. You have consistently ran multiple times a week. You have postponed social plans to squeeze those extra miles out of the day. You have (somehow) crafted a sacred balance of work, life, and running. Your legs are ready to take on race miles and now it is time to examine how to keep your mental muscles thriving and focused through the various stages of a race. Breaking your race into segments can help you focus on what matters.
The First 5 Miles
Raceday is exciting — friends and family are there to cheer you on, strangers are enthusiastically shouting words of encouragement at you, and you are running in a pack with hundreds of others who have worked toward a shared goal. With so much happening, it is easy to lose focus on the task at hand and work against the fitness your body has obtained.
During the first five miles, whether you are running a half marathon or a full marathon, it is important to keep one thing in mind: focus on the whole race instead of the moment. Unless you are a competitive runner, it is safe to assume people will be passing you when the race begins, this is expected and normal.
Though it is tempting to try and keep up, it is important to remain focused on keeping a pace which is correct for you. Avoid early exhaustion by running a pace you are comfortable with and remembering that, no matter how fast others may be going, you trained to run this race and have your own unique pace. Embrace the cliche — slow and steady wins the race.
Conserving energy avoids early physical exhaustion and enhances your focus. Knowing you have a plan assists in remaining positive throughout the race. Having a plan and sticking to it gives you the confidence for an essential mental clarity that is conducive to success.
The Middle Miles
Miles 6–10 of a marathon, or miles 13–21 for full marathon runners, contain the miles which body may begin to feel it is depleted of energy. At the point of fatigue, focus becomes one of the greatest assets a runner may utilize.
Through the pain, remember that you trained for this and, as a result, you have earned the right to cross that finish line. If you feel the need, walk briefly in order to regroup both physically and mentally.
Importantly, mind games become the great weapon of a tired runner. Some runners take their minds off being tired by singing to themselves, listening to music, or distracting their mind with thoughts. Each of these techniques can help to keep you focused on running while assisting to block out the messages your tired legs are sending.
Using NIO FOCUS Pre-Workout tape delivers key adaptogens to the body that assist with the mental clarity needed for your final push. Additionally, NIO’s Guarana extract and vitamin B12 boost anaerobic performance.
The Final Stretch
This is it, you are in the final stretch. You may feel tired by this point but look back at the miles you have already completed and use them as inspiration to fuel your final attack. It may be best to focus on these final miles as nothing but a smaller and easier goal.
Breaking the end of races into nothing but a 5k or 10k equates your remaining distance to something you have ran multiple times during training. As you push ahead, focus on crossing the finish line as every moment you have spent running has brought you to being able to complete a race. Take in the crowd, the scenery, and the atmosphere, it’s all yours!