The build up to the big day
You only get one greatest day of your life.
For most, it is either the birth of a child or the celebration of marriage.
For either situation, you spend countless hours preparing and doing everything you can to be ready, but no matter how much time you put in, it still feels like there is more you could have done.
Did you ever consider that runners take the same approach to racing?
Runners are like brides on their wedding day, but there is one big difference.
You only get one wedding day, but runners get countless opportunities to race, and for that we are lucky.
There are some striking similarities between the build up to a wedding day and the build up to a race.
Think about it.
You put hours and hours of preparation in for that one occasion, where just a few hours determines how you reflect on the rest of your life.
A photographer captures the occasion, and you may put those photos on display in your home for you to smile at every time you walk past.
You spend more money than you should on your outfit and shoes for the big day and work with planners to help you get prepared.
Before you know it, it is the week before the event, and you can barely wait to get to the big day. You feel so nauseous you could vomit, and wonder if you are really ready. You take out stress on our loved ones and need to be reassured that everything is going to be okay.
But before you know it, the day is here, and although things always go wrong that are not anticipated, what really matters is that you enjoy and celebrate the moment.
There is always room for improvement, you always could have done more to make it better, but at the end of the day, whether you are a bride on your wedding day or a runner in your race, it is all about the experience, and all we can do is our best to cherish it.
Just like getting married, the opportunity to race is a gift that we really should not take for granted, but we also shouldn’t put all the pressure on ourselves for it to go a certain way. It can be easy to do, especially at this time where it is all too easy to stare at GPS watches every second of the run, but I am asking you to try not to look at your GPS watch, and instead focus on being in the moment, and doing the best you can. You will run better that way, and truly soak it in.
Negative thoughts will creep in, and you will doubt your ability to run well, or even finish the race. In those moments, try to think of the finish line and how good it will feel when you cross it, or run for something greater than yourself (much like you would do for your wedding day). Using mental strategies to overcome negativity will help you get through the tough parts and enjoy the parts that feel good, rather than spiraling out of control.
You will be able to reflect on a good day for the rest of your life, but even if it did not go as planned, you can step back and laugh at what went wrong with the people who love and care for you. They are proud of you and happy for you no matter what happens, and all they really want is to see you smile.
There might not be another wedding day, but there is always another race, and for that reason, runners are very lucky.
So next time you are getting ready for a big race, take a deep breath and remember that it is not about the race itself, but about the journey you have been through to get there, and the moments you will remember for the rest of your life.
Tina Muir is an elite runner for Saucony and the Community Manager for Runners Connect. Tina hosts the No. 1 rated running podcast, Run to the Top, where she interviews race directors, Olympians, sports psychologists, everyday runners and running influencers from all over the world. Tina also shares the honest truth about the ups and downs of training as a professional runner on her blog, tinamuir.com