Coach Hops’ Top 5 Racing Tips

As we start to ramp up our training for spring races, it’s the perfect time to make sure that our mental game is on point. Coach Hops is here with some tips to help us approach our races with the right frame of mind.

  1. Don’t think, just run. My college coach used to beat this into our heads, especially in hard workouts and when we were freaking out before big races. It always works. Don’t think, just do what you already know how to do and run.
  2. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Teddy Roosevelt). Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and don’t compare yourself to how you were last year, or the year before that. Focus on today and give your absolute best effort on that day.
  3. Have a positive mindset. Read books, listen to podcasts and audio books on positive psychology. Surround yourself with positive people. I recommend using mantras or counting from 1-100 when things get tough. When negative thoughts creep in, you can flip the script and focus on your mantra, or use counting to distract your brain.
  4. Think of your training as a journey in itself, and the journey is what takes you to the starting line. The race is your reward.
  5. Focus only on what you can control. Let go of what you can’t change, make space for what you can change, and know that there is a difference. No matter the outcome, if you’re doing all the little things right, then your training will pan out. Sometimes things don’t come together on race day and that’s okay! Trust the process.

How do you approach race day? How do you keep your mental game on point?

I'm a mom and business owner from upstate NY. I love running, coffee, and adult beverages. Also chocolate. I'm currently training for shorter distances (mile-5k) but my big goal is to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the marathon.

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  1. Lots of wisdom here! I also apply #1 to my training. When I’m inclined to overthink it, be anxious about not hitting paces, etc… ‘don’t think, just run’ gets me out the door. I do still have problems especially in shorter races with giving up when the going gets hard. ‘Oh, I don’t need to PR this time. My B goal is fine.’ and later ‘Eh, forget the B goal, how about the C goal’. Any advice?

    1. I’m no expert here, but one thing that has helped with with that sort of thinking is something I heard from Sarah Bowen Shea: Don’t accept the deal. So, you know during the race, your brain is going to offer you exactly that kind of bargain: My B goal is fine. I didn’t want to PR anyway. I’ll get a medal regardless of my time. Whatever. You know the offer of the deal is coming so be prepared to say no, thank you, I do not want that deal – I am still after my A goal.

  2. Definitely all true and very important! I definitely count things when I find myself spacing out mid-race or in a tough section. I think the biggest one I have improved with over the years is the don’t think just go. Definitely learning to trust my experience and the fact that I know how to do what i want to do I just need to actually go out and do it!