Mentally Preparing for Races

Here are some tips I have to mentally prepare for your next race whether it is at a track meet, cross country meet, or road race.

  • Visualize the race/course
    • For cross country/road racing, visualize what the course looks like, even if you only have a map and you haven’t been there before. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line and accomplishing your goals.
    • For track, imagine yourself running around the track making all of your splits and reaching your goal time.


  • Listen to music
    • Find a song that gets you “pumped-up” and excited to race.
    • I like to listen to one song over and over on the bus ride/car ride to the race.


  • Make a race plan
    • This can include lap times/mile times, the points to go faster during the race, and how fast you want to start out the race.

  • Make goals
    • Set a goal for your time and place in the race.
    • You can also set goals for your lap times or mile times.


  • Tell yourself, “I can!”
    • Being positive is the key to mentally preparing for your race and having a successful race.


  • Make a mantra to repeat during the race, this is my favorite tip; I always do this when I’m getting tired.
    • “I can do this”
    • “I am strong, s-t-r-o-n-g” (after you say “I am strong” spell out strong in your head)
    • “I have made it this far, I can finish”
    • “I am doing great!”
    • “I am almost there”



It is normal to be nervous before your race; I am always nervous before my races.  Mentally preparing can help reduce some of the nervousness and help you feel more confident about your upcoming race.




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