does anyone have any tips on how to hold your concentration during races ? I find sometimes I wonder off in my mind and then realise I've slowed down etc and I find it hard then to get back into the "zone"...

Any ideas ? 


  • That's an intriguing question!  Doesn't that kind of depend on what your "zone" is?  I find often that wandering off in my head is a great distraction from what my body is suffering.  I do maths puzzles, like how long have I got left, how far, and therefore what pace should I be doing.  Irrelevant really, because I've no idea if I'm hitting that pace, but a good way of wrapping up the mind.

    In longer races I'm always concentrating on chasing people down.  Actually, come to think of it, that's the way I spent my last two 100m's thinking - chasing people down - so all races really.  I don't mind the mind wandering off whilst doing that, just so long as each time I look up I'm a little closer to the person I've picked on.

    (In the 100s I also managed to think about my sprinting form - they always seem a lot longer when you're running them than the time you clock.)

  • The other day me and Ms D were discussing an article she had read about psycological preparation for races.  Apparently some poeple prepare by visualising fast things - trains, wind, birds, cheatahs etc.

    I started thinking about this around the half way point in a HM last weekend.  A couple of miles further on I realised that my pace had dropped right off; I needed to stop daydreaming and concentrate on running.

    Other than that I do as Ratzer says and just concentrate on the person in front.

  • I sometimes end up daydreaming too but this is useful because it takes my mind off the discomfort when pushing it. I also focus on my posture, breathing and try to relax as fully as possible.  I think about where I am in the race in relation to other runners - am I catching them up, maintaining a distance etc, and seeing people's running styles and how hard they are pushing.

    I also think about people important to me, when I race and feel the strain I recall a work mate I used to run with - a really motivational guy who helped me get started with running but who also sadly passed away a couple of years ago.

  • Counting, breaking the race up into sections (by time, distance or landmarks), targetting people ahead.

  • Same as dancing in spikes. 

  • Choosing a pleasant posterior just ahead of me and chasing it. If I overtake it, I select another one.

    And if in turn my cute little buns have helped people to pb's then so much the better. Share the love!

  • Buy a Garmin 305 , have a goal pace in mind when you race and track every quarter mile if you have keep disciplined.

    Its just what I did last weekend in a 10.5 mile race.

  • I do a random counting thing, 1,2,3...1,2,3...1,2,3...1,2,3... To my pace to make sure I keep around 180 footfalls per minute. I tend to do it when I notice my concentration wavering and I need to keep up to meet my times. I also have my watch notify me every 1/2 mile so I can usually catch up any if I drift for a few seconds. Only done a few races mind.. But do far it works for me - generally training is harder to keep focused than races.
  • I find when I'm in 'the zone' that I keep running at a pretty constant speed no matter where my mind wanders, and that the miles just roll on by pretty effortlessly. The last marathon I did, I got to 16 miles without hardly noticing it...

    I've noticed that for me it's pretty much been all about improvements in overall fitness. As I've got fitter and faster, I'ver really noticed that I don't need to concentrate so much on keeping up a set pace and can run on autopilot without worrying as much about sore bits, pulling muscles, going too fast and blowing up early.

    When I'm finding it difficult, I focus on someone in front of me and try to edge up on them. When I'm finding it bloody murder, I ignore everything around me and just count four steps at a time. Also use this in cycling for getting up tough hills. Don't think about the whole hill, just think about the next four steps/pedals.

  • I really hate those times you lose the group in front and there's a gap to the next set of runners. I tend to keep my mind on the job by counting mile markers, how far it is to the next water station, do I think I'm as strong as that guy ahead? Is he showing any signs of weakening?

    As well, I like how Terry Laughlin of Total Immersion describes keeping focused on your form when swimming long distances: - making sure you're present in each individual 'thought stroke'. We all disassociate for periods during long endurance events, but it's best to clear your mind and focus on each stride to ensure it's made using the best form possible.
  • I find if I am in no mans land losing the group then it is difficult to motivate myself to speed up. I have been doing some 5K park runs, there was a guy who beat me by one place , and I saw him again the next week so tried to track him in terms of pushing myself. He beat me by 2 places but I ended up with a personal best. I think it is easier if someone is going similar pace to you.

Sign In or Register to comment.