STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME PAIN DURING YOUR NEXT RACE
1. Prepare two race plans
Plan A should be geared towards achieving your goal. Plan B should cater for any deviations due to unforeseen injury or weather-induced discomfort.
Start by studying the race course and its hydration and medical points. Also, plan your nutrition and hydration stops. Drink water every four kilometres and consume carbs or electrolytes every eight kilometres. It will bolster your mental and physical focus.
Remember the medical stops. Make your way there and stop, if the need arises.
2. Judge yourself on the pain scale
On a scale of zero to 10, self measure your pain. If it is above seven, stop immediately. If it is six or below, you can continue running by making some changes.
3. Stay positive and do not quit!
Keep laser focus on the finish: Don’t let the pain flood your thoughts. Shift your focus to that finish line and medal. Your brain will then shift your perception from pain to working harder towards completion.
Talk to yourself: Recall all the sacrifices you have made during your training. Think about the time away from your family, waking up before dawn and late at night to train, and missing out on social engagements. Make all of that count.
Play some mental games to distract yourself: Keep a track of the number of people you overtake. If that’s too boring, count the number of runners wearing bright yellow tees or shorts.
4. Make small physical adjustments to get to the finish
Change your breathing: If you experience sharp pain in your side or are breathless, slow down and take deep breaths. Sync your breathing with your steps.
Switch your stride: If you are cramping, are uncomfortable, or something hurts–lengthen or shorten your stride. Lift your knees more or kick your heels a bit.
Do a posture check: Relax your shoulders, straighten your spine, and swing your arms. Fatigue is normal and expected.
Walk or jog segments: Pick a landmark–a water stop, a lamp post, a tree. Decide to walk to it and then jog. Repeat, to the finish.
Fuel right: Your body stores are depleted. Take a few moments to get some glucose/electrolytes at a hydration stop.