How do you deal with nerves?

Started running in February and would like to enter a few local 5k races for motivation and because I like the idea of running a race.  Only thing is I suffer horribly with anxiety, have always been a very anxious person but the idea of entering a race makes me break out in a cold sweat.  I don't know why i'm so nervous and was just curious as to how everyone else deals with pre-race nerves.


  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    Before I did my first ever race (Reading Half in 2000), I was a bit nervous. I'm not a sporty full-of-self-confidence type, I'm middle-aged and a bit flabby, I was wondering if I could finish the distance, would I come last, would people laugh at me in my ill-fitting and non-branded kit, would I annoy someone by breaking some unspoken rule, etc etc ... Not panicking or having an anxiety attack, but just a bit uncertain.

    In the event I turned up a bit early to observe and learn before the start. Guess what - there were plenty of others just like me! I did finish the distance (just), I didn't come last, nobody laughed or took the piss, and everyone and everything was great.

    I've done well over a hundred races since then.

    The only people "racing" are the scary skinny stary-eyed whippets up front. The rest of us are there to test ourselves and in the process have a good day out.

    When you've done it, you'll wonder what on earth you were so worried about. Honest!

  • Yes, as Muttley says, for you Missfliss I think the key is just to get out there and get one under your belt. It will soon to dispell any illusions that all races are full of lean, speedy runners. Are there any Parkruns near you? One of those could be a nice friendly introduction.
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Missfliss...I don't have anxiety, but I definitely have a "race day feel". I wake up early and the adrenaline is switched to overdrive straight away. It's a really uncomfortable feeling but I know it's necessary for me to race at my best. The adrenaline is the single biggest reason you can run quicker than in training.

     A good..ahem pit stop will take the nerves away as will sorting everything like getting to the venue early, and sorting all the admin and details such as entry and kit.

    A good warm up will calm you down, and will make sure the start of the race doesn't come as a shock.

    I can guarantee once the race starts you'll settle down easily.

  • I start getting that nervous feeling a couple of days before race day and run scenario after scenario through my head. What if ............ yada yada yada ...
    Then race day arrives and I set of like the bloody clappers. 400 yards down the road the breathing gets a little heavy and hey presto, something more pressing and worthwhile to concentrate on image
  • Everyone is different! But I done my very first race last monday, I turned up and knew no one. There was a buzz as runners collected their numbers people in small groups chatting then thers was me just wandering round feeling anxious. I kept going through things in my mind, did I need the loo again? where should I line up for the start? etc etc I went through my warm up routine as did many others..... then came the time to line up, "where should I join, in the middle or near the rear? I chose the latter. Feeling very anxious by now nerves were in overdrive, the claxon sounded and we were off and so were the nerves, I kept repeating in myy mind "start slow and steady" after 1.5k's I had settled down to my pace and I began to pass people with a quick check of my garmin to make sure I wasnt going to quick!! I can safely say the nerves soon disappeared and ended up finishing 53.08 with a big grin on my chops!
  • Good going Rick, excellent first race image Hope it's the first of many!

    Missfliss, I've been running 5 years and still get pre-race nerves! I'm quite an anxious person too and have a tendency to overthink everything and go through all the possible nightmare scenarios... but you really do have nothing to worry about. Racing is a lot of fun and as Muttley says, you're only really racing against yourself - you don't have anything to prove, and there will be many others there in the same situation as you.

    For me the only thing that really helped was doing a couple of races, as it got rid of the fear of the unknown. Have you thought about the Race For Life? I know a lot of people knock it (myself included for some aspects of it), but it's a 5k in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. My first race was a R4L and I've just run my 7th marathon. Go for it!!

  • It's amazing how the body knows it race day - lots of visits to the bath room.
  • Hi miss!

    A lot is in the preparation. Arrive early!

    Sort out your kit in advance, its not nice running around the house wondering where you left  your number on race day.

    Look at how to get there, what the parking etc might be like.

    Spend time soaking up the athmosphere, which is almost always very friendly, regardless of ability.

    Remember that the one person to put you under pressure is you.

    Keep breathing and enjoy!

  • If you can get some supporters to go with you & even better if you can get one of them to drive so you can just relax on the way there.

    Once you've got a few under your belt you'll know what to expect and it'll get easier. I've got race 19 and 20 this weekend and nowadays the nerves are pretty non-existent.

    Just leave yourself plent of time to get there. You may need to pee like Seabiscuit so give factor in time to queue for the toilet.

  • I would look at why you feel nervous. The way I have dealt with it is that the only pressure I am under is from me. I am not likely to win the race, so the 'expectation' isn't there, its just like a training run, but with other people and a bit faster than normal (although i've been bad lately and run my last 3 10k training runs at 10k paceimage)

    I think relax, enjoy and think about how much fun it will be when you are out there running. image

  • Echoing what others have said really - i have also suffered from anxiety in the past but my motto is to "feel the fear and do it anyway" doesn't always work and it might take me a few goes first but just get in there and you will have conquered one demon.

    Races days can be nerve wracking for some, but if you prepare well and just grin and bear it you will find it really isn't as bad as you thought - which is the whole point of anxiety isn't it really.

    I get nervous before a race, go to the loo A LOT and lose sleep the night before but once i'm done it was all worth it.

    Good luck

  • Thanks, nice to know other people suffer a little with nerves as well!  Have a feeling i'll miss the race due to being on the loo the entire morning, maybe immodium could offer to sponser me??image

    MadameO think i'm going to enter a race for life near me, have looked at park runs but am in Derby and can't find any nearby.

    Right am entering my first race now, feel like a Doctor Pepper advert 'what's the worst that could happen?'

  • exactly, it maybe something that you're eating that may cause the need for immodium,lol. Just go and enjoy focus on the positives and you'll come through the other side feeling more positive image
  • Did my first race in March and was very nervous but did it with 2 friends so it made it a bit easier. Is there somebody you can run it with??
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