Five Mental Tips for Race Day Success

Ever hear the phrase, “running/walking is 90% mental”? While that may be a bit of hyperbole, there is a lot of truth to the saying. Having a strong mental game on race day can be the difference between cashing in and crapping out on months of hard work and preparation.

Sport psychologists encourage relaxation and visualization during an event. Physiologically relaxed muscles are more fluid, react more quickly, and burn less energy. Relaxed bodies have lower blood lactate levels and allow for greater mental concentration. On the opposite end, when you are experiencing fear and stress, the body becomes tense and tight. Blood flow is directed to the brain, making it harder for the body to perform. Referenced from “Running Within” Jerry Lynch

The following five tips will help you relax and visualize your way to Race Day success!

Tip 1: Breath

There is no consensus on what the best breathing pattern is. I have personally found it helpful to keep my breathing under control as much as possible. If you can be thoughtful about each breathe, it will go a long way; staying relaxed will bring in enough oxygen while also relaxing your mind and body. You can even take this a step further by visualizing clean air circulating through the body with each inhalation, and toxins, stress, and negativity being released with each exhalation.

Tip 2: Body & Face

Remember: staying relaxed and under control is the name of the game. To do that you need to identify and eliminate areas of tension in the body and face. Aim for having loosely cupped hands, relaxed arms, dropped and relaxed shoulders, and a gentle anterior tilt of the head. You also want to relax your face. I typically visualize one of Salvador Dali’s clocks and try to make my face as close to that as possible.

Tip 3: Words

Develop positive mantras and be relentlessly optimistic. I remind myself over and over about all the hard work I have put in and how ready I am. But that is just me. Everyone runs or walks a race for different reasons. Whatever your reason, lean into that! And give yourself plenty of reminders when things are getting tough. I have also found that putting a smile on my face from time to time really helps a lot. After all, this is supposed to be fun!

Tip 4: Images

Using visual images can really help during challenging parts of a race. I typically like to think back to a time when a workout or race went really well and how great I felt. Putting my mind into that positive space helps me will it into existence again. I also like to imagine myself at the moment I cross the finish line and the joy I will feel when I’m done running and my goals have been met. Again, this is just me; mantras should be personal. Find what images motivate you and use them.

Tip 5: Handling Bad Patches

There are several coping strategies that help with handling bad patches during a race. I personally like to break the race into small, manageable chunks – the next mile marker, the next street corner, etc. Focus all your efforts on making it to whatever spot you have picked out in your mind. When you reach the spot you targeted, then choose another and repeat. Other successful tactics include quickening your pace for short bouts of 50-100 meters to change things up, or focusing on your running form to make sure you are maintaining good running posture.

Now that you have the keys to the castle, you should be ready to crush it on race day! If you think I missed anything feel free to share in the comments any strategies that work for you. I also love hearing success stories, so let me know if any of these tips work out for you. Fare well! I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming events!

Be an A+ Spectator

Spectators can be game-changers for runners chasing a PR or finish line. Their energy is contagious, as is their confidence in us. Their shouts of encouragement propel us forward and their creative signs make us laugh, taking our focus off our legs and lungs.

The smaller ones offer high fives and the adult ones occasionally offer a PBR.

With the Monumental Marathon just around the corner, we wanted to share a few tips that will help you ace your spectating experience.

  1. Runners don’t stop for red lights and we don’t stop for spectators trying to cross the street. When you cross, make sure there’s enough time and space to get across in one go. Stopping, playing Frogger or weaving will almost certainly end poorly for you and a runner. It may even end his race.

    Be extra cautious if you’re crossing with kiddos or doggos in tow. 

  2. Speaking of doggos, keep them on a reasonably short leash. A dog wondering even a couple feet into the street can be problematic for a runner. Same for little people. Make sure, too, that you have a hold on doggo’s leash. You know he wants to go all-out toward the finish line.

  3. It can often be hard to breathe and run, so please keep the cigarettes, cigars and vapes away from the course, starting corrals and post-race festivities.

  4. Lie to us. Tell us we look great; we look strong; we can do it. Don’t, though, tell us that we’re almost there unless you can see the finish line. 

  5. Please please please enjoy yourself. It can be a long day, so consider dressing in layers if the weather is cool. Bring snacks. Get out the Cornhole boards. Whoop it up. Pull up your favorite camp chair and pour your favorite morning cocktail. Call us by name on our bib or the team name on our singlets. If you’re having fun, we will, too.

  6. Don’t quit on us! The front-runners are exciting to watch and the mid-packers give you a lot to watch and cheer for, but don’t forget there are more people who could use your support.  

Ok, grab your cow bells, poster board and markers and get out there. Oh, and please forgive us if we throw a snot rocket in your general direction. It’s… ummm… a sign of affection. 

CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon & Half Marathon Course Changes 2019

The 12th annual CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K is less than three weeks away! Since the marathon was first run in 2008, it has grown to be one of the 15 largest in the country. It is popular in part because it consistently offers great running weather and a fast course. As both the Half and Full marathon races have grown in size, small tweaks have been made to the courses to make sure participants continue to have experiences matching the high standards that they expect. The 2019 race features four such changes: two each to the Half and Full marathon courses. Without further ado, here is a breakdown of the new CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon & Half Marathon courses.

Half AND Full Marathon Change:

The first course change affects both the Half and Full marathons between miles 3 and 4. As participants head north on Alabama from New York, instead of turning right on Michigan Street, as was done last year, runners will now pass Michigan and go 1 block farther to North Street, turn right, and head towards Mass Ave. I doubt anyone will really notice this minor change. My impression is that this change adds a little more of a straight away and a slightly easier transition onto Mass Ave.–all good things for fast running!

Half Marathon Change Only:

For the Half Marathon ONLY, between miles 9 and 10, participants heading south on Talbott Street will reach 30th Street and, instead of turning right like in previous years, continue south to turn right on Mapleton Trace toward Meridian. This appears to be a pretty minor change to the course. If anything, it avoids the new Red Line for an extra block and a half. I anticipate this change will be inconsequential.

Full Marathon Change Only:

On the Full marathon course ONLY, as participants approach mile 13, instead of continuing north on College to 66th Street and turning left, they will turn left onto 64th Street and take that to Park Avenue. When marathoners reach Park, they will turn right and head north one block to Riverview Dr. where they will rejoin the traditional course route. This is also a minor change to the previous course. Turning off of College a couple blocks earlier than in previous years will help avoid any potential conflicts with the Red Line turn-around point on 66th Street. I actually run this section pretty frequently and think that, considering the Red Line, this is a very good change and will not negatively impact anyone’s performance.

These are all the course changes for the 2019 CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon & Half Marathon. If you’ve run or walked either race in the past, the rest of the course is going to be just as fantastic as you remember! If this is your first time participating, then you can view both the entire Half and Full marathon course maps by clicking on this link: Be Monumental Course Map. Good luck to everyone! And make sure to come by the Indy Runners cheer tent post-race. Rumor has it we will be serving breakfast burritos! 😉