Editor’s note: We know that, for good reason, many races are not going ahead as planned right now. But we wanted to share this advice anyway. We hope it serves as motivation to go keep testing yourself and put in great workouts. To push harder in the race against yourself. Because eventually, there will be other races. And we want you to be ready.
You’ve focused on your goals, you’ve endured the ups and downs of training, and it all comes down to this. Race day. Showtime. Time to cash in the runner benefits you’ve banked over the past few months. As long as you’ve made it to the line in good shape, there’s now only one thing you need to make sure you’re unstoppable: a winner’s mindset. And we’re here to help you raise your mental game for race day.
Regardless of level, every runner is competing to chase down something. For the pro On ZAP Endurance runners we spoke with to learn about competitive mindset, it’s about winning the race. You don’t have to be aiming for a podium place to benefit from their advice, however. It’s valid whatever your goal, whether you have a target race time in mind or to complete a certain distance for the first time.
First up, it’s important to note that the focus and resilience we talked about in the previous articles of this athlete mindset series are not distinct from the racing mindset or each other. They all feed each other (so we recommend checking those tips out as well). As such, finding your competitive instinct starts long before the gun goes off. Just ask the On ZAP Endurance team’s 02:18 marathoner Matt McClintock.
“I believe that there are two parts to the athlete mindset,” Matt told us. “The first is being able to inspire yourself to get out the door on days that you don't want to.
Everyone’s motivation is different. Everyone, from people training for their first marathon to people training to win Olympic gold have days they don't want to get out of bed. It’s the ones that do get out there that set themselves apart.
“Second, is the ability to put themselves into uncomfortable situations on race day. One of my favorite quotes is from (US track legend) Bob Kennedy. He said ‘racing hurts, you need to accept that from the beginning or you aren't going anywhere’. Being able to channel, accept and even relish the parts of the race that aren't fun is quintessentially important to going from good to great."