My pre-race routine is unbreakable, and never fails to get me in the right place to run fast (or at least try to).
So I’m not sure why it took a sports psychologist’s suggestion to develop a pre-run routine to apply routine to my everyday training runs. Today, I took another step in my weeklong mind-games series and did just that.
Alison Arnold, who has coached a host of Olympic athletes, suggests doing the same stretches, listening to the same music and thinking the same performance-boosting thoughts before every run (check out my post about Arnold’s other tips here). Here’s what I did before running my new favorite loop through Rock Creek Park this morning:
- Ate my tried-and-true pre-race breakfast, a Luna bar and a latte with a bunch of espresso and some skim milk, about an hour before I left.
- Did my standard pre-race stretches, including my brand-new IT band stretch for my gimpy hip. My running doc dubbed this stretch, shown in the first photo of this Running Times feature, “the only one that works.” I’m inclined to agree with him, though the foam roller’s awfully nice, too.
- Took a minute to look at my nifty little motivation board, which I recently added a few new clippings to: A headline from Runner’s World about tips to “Run Healthy Forever,” which is my goal above and beyond any race; and race brochures for the Philadelphia Half-Marathon Nov. 22 and the National Marathon in March. These are my leading backup plans if my hip gets in the way of my Marine Corps Marathon plans.
- “Breathed in” the way I wanted to feel: Like a cool, uninjured, trail-running diva. Yes, I recognize this is cheesy beyond words. No, I don’t feel like that very often. But “she who trips over tree limbs and limps up hills in a sad, gimpy fashion” didn’t have such a nice ring to it, you know?
Result: Awesome run. Just awesome. I did something like 5.5 hilly trail miles in about 47 minutes, but pace was the last thing on my mind. (Happy sigh).