Pre-Race Glum-Running

The Cardiff Half Marathon is now only 10 days away! Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster during my training, one minute fretting about whether or not I’ve trained hard enough and then getting excited about the big race atmosphere the next minute. These pre-race moodswings haven’t fazed me though. In fact I’ve become quite accustomed to them during my first year of running. Over the last twelve months I have experienced the same emotional process in the month before a race: a few weeks of panic and glum-running followed by a week of pre-race calm. Despite being able to anticipate these feelings though I seem totally unable to avoid them.

About a month before a race I begin to feel overwhelmed with self-doubt. After 6-8 weeks of training I find that my body has become increasingly fatigued – my limbs feel heavy, my calves need a couple of walks up and down the hallways to stretch out first thing in the morning, and I’m hungry all the time. This, coupled with the mental strain of co-ordinating training sessions around a regular life, leaves me feeling like a massive bag of crap. When  you feel like this it’s really easy to fret over missed training sessions rather than focusing on your achievements, but no amount of dwelling on what your training lacked is going to turn back time and so the best thing you can do during these glum-run weeks is suck it up and keep on jogging. Have faith in your plan and have faith in your legs.

My running club has been invaluable during my recent glum-run month. Chatting as we run and swapping stories about upcoming races has helped to put things in perspective and the encouragement that is offered from jogging comrades is a massive help. With little more than a week to go until the CHM and my runniversary I have now moved past the glum-run stage and entered a phase of pre-race calm.

This calmness is borne from an acceptance that I can do no more, and that I have really, really tried to improve. There are so many things that can happen on race day that could potentially slow me down and ruin my sub-2hr ambitions – weather, crowds, unexpected bodily revolts such as cramp or toilet trips. All I can do now is enjoy my last couple of club runs, rest, pick out my runniversary outfit and enjoy the carbs. Ok, maybe I’ll throw in one last hill session too…

Am I the only one who has these running mood swings?


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