How to Manage the “Big” Goal or Race

I know a lot of people who are staring down really big goals and really big races.  Runs that are longer than anything they have ever done.  Multisport events which just seem to keep getting longer and longer.  Some are nonchalant about the approach of their big day while others are scared shitless

if your dreams__

A way to manage the “big” day or even the “big” training plan is to break it down into manageable sections (see my Baby Steps post). Just like we don’t stress about what we actually owe on our homes {with interest}, we don’t look at 13.1, 26.2, 31, 50, 62, 70.3, 100 or 140.6 as a whole.  That would just be scary.  And overwhelming.  Let’s just take it one day at a time.  One mile at a time.  One section at a time.  For example, I’m running a 50K this weekend.  It super scary for me if I think about the fact that I’m going to be running 31 miles especially with so few March miles under my belt.  So I don’t think about it.  I just focus on the fact that I’ll be covering 3 loops with my friends.  I’ve even started using the hashtag  #JustThreeLoops, not only for myself but for my friends who may be a little overwhelmed with what we are about to accomplish. 

When I’m using a big training plan, I don’t look at the entirety of the plan but rather just one week at a time.  Sometimes just one workout at a time if the long run scares me.  I don’t want to spend all week worrying about the 16 miles I have to run on SAT.  So I don’t.  I know that I need to run long on SAT, I’ll just peak at it toward the end of the week so that I can carve out enough time and set up a plan and a possible run partner. Why be all stressed about what is to come?  I think we have enough to stress about in our lives.  Remember, running is fun.  It’s supposed to help us focus and eliminate stress.  If you’re a mom, this is probably the only social time that you will have all week so think about how lucky you are to be able to get out of the house even if you did have to sneak out when the little “angels” were sleeping to spend time with your friends.

run

When the day finally does arrive for that long run or ride, break it down into manageable chucks.  A 16 mile run is an 8 mile out and back.  Run the first 8 miles enjoying the trail and the surroundings.  When the turnaround arrives, stop, stretch, send praise to God for your health, strength and not only the ability but the DESIRE to run.  Then plug into some music and cruise that last 8 miles back to your car.   Same with race day, start the race without music and just absorb everything and be thankful. Break the race down into small chunks.  It’s 5 miles until I see my BFF who is working aid station X.  It’s 3 more miles until we run down my favorite street of the entire marathon course.  It’s 4 miles until I see the the  Yankee Runners; I hope they are handing out ice this year!  It’s 2 miles until Pilsen and that’s always fun, plus has some shaded areas!   I may have broken a marathon like Chicago down into 10+ chunks.  I just run from one thing to the next. I do what I have to do to keep moving!   If it’s a race I’m not familiar with, then sometimes I break the race down by water stations.  I just need to run to the next water station, then I can get water and walk thru if I’m not feeling good.  Or I’m going to run until I see the next lady in a sparkle skirt and then I’ll take a short walk break.  Use your imagination.  Keep your brain actively engaged and focused so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Running is Symbolic

Most importantly, be confident.  Know that you trained for the big day or maybe you are in the process of training.  If you put in the work, you will be physically ready for the task at hand.  Training plans are popular for a reason and that’s because they work.  Believe it.  Know it.  You are ready.  Know that you are strong enough, tough enough, and trained enough to handle whatever the day brings you. 

strong enough

Need a bit more work on the confidence part?  Yeah, me too!  Here are some related posts below to help bolster you for your next big run or race or even in the game of life. 

  • Strong Enough – Are you or a friend struggling with confidence?  This is more life related than running but focuses on the helping others, not judging and remembering that nobody is perfect but we need to own that fact that each and every one of us is ENOUGH.
  • Be a Badass, Not a Victim – Has a safety theme but more importantly drives home the point that confidence is key in every aspect of life.  It can change your life and you may never even know it.
  • Invest in Yourself – This is all about the things you can do to be  more confident.  It’s focused on loving yourself, just the way you are now!  It’s focused on fostering positive relationships and habits which make YOU feel good about YOU.

Now go chase down your dreams, no matter how big or small.  Be strong.  Be confident.  Break your “big” thing down into manageable chunks so that you can methodically check it off in segments.  You can do it.  I know you can.  You know you can.  And just remember that when it gets ugly, cuz that will undoubtedly happen, sometimes the best thing you can do it put your head down, pull your hat a little lower over your eyes, and just keep moving.  Eat up the pavement with your eyes and just stop worrying about everything other than the very next step. 

** Manage  Your Goals, One Step At A Time ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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18 thoughts on “How to Manage the “Big” Goal or Race

  1. Awesome post – I am going to definitely keep this one in mind as I begin training for the Bix and the QC 1/2 this year! To me running is made up of a significant mental preparation % and following a training plan does a ton for me to feel mentally confident that I have done what I need to do to get the job done!

  2. I definitely have to break my runs into shorter chunks to get through them mentally! I always love getting to the halfway point in my runs because I’m always so much happier in the second half and I usually have a good idea of if it’s going to be a good run or not. This is a great post, loved the advice!

  3. I love this so much! You’re so right: it’s all about breaking it down and managing what’s immediately in front of you. Chicago is such a great course with so much to look forward to as you know. It’s amazing how far one can go when they refuse to be intimidated by the enormity of the task. Go rock that 50k!

    • LOVE Chicago. I keep thinking I need to stop running Chicago but why should I stop cuz I love it. I know there area lot of other races too but this is so convenient for me!

      • Yay!!! Everyone has been talking about that one. I think it just opened this week, right? The Marathon Maniac page is buzzing about it anyhow so that means it’s a GOOD ONE. Can’t wait to see what you think.

      • Yes! It opened on Tuesday (my b-day) and it’s a great race. I haven’t actually run the half or full but I’ve been there each year from 2010 so I sort of consider it “mine”. 😉

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