With an increase in individuals participating in running events, whether it be competitions, charity fun runs or personal reasons such as life goals and testing their physical and mental abilities, it is important to both mentally and physically prepare for your running event.
You will have heard the term, “runner’s wall”, where you experience pain, fatigue, and emotional distress at some point during the race. Here’s are some trigger signs to look out for:
- Dry mouth
- Feeling weak
- Muscle soreness
- Negative thoughts flowing in your mind
Here are a few simple strategies established by Matt Buman– Professor of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology, to help you break through the “wall” (Averett, 2011).
During your run, you may experience mild dehydration from having a dry mouth, to feeling fatigue, or slowing down. On a longer run, you may start to feel sluggish with heavy legs and a decrease in energy (Averett, 2011). To avoid this, it is essential to drink water, sports drinks or depending on the severity, ingest carbohydrates, in the form of a gel or drink, so that your body can convert it into glucose.
Muscles soreness is expected towards the end of the race, particularly if you are pushing yourself. Muscle soreness can be combated by a few strategies. These include running at a slower pace, walking or doing some stretching exercises to continue on (Averett, 2011). However, muscle soreness can be prevented with correct preparation leading up to the race, by implementing a suitable training program that incorporates strength training and conditioning, as well as eating the right foods.
Becoming overwhelmed by the distance you have to run is common, especially amongst first-time runners. If this occurs, try focusing on something else, it could be a number of cars on the side of the road or a countdown from 100, try anything that works for you (Averett, 2011). However, it is still important not to lose focus and to care for your physical well-being. You can do so by ensuring you are hydrated and are focusing on your breathing (Averett, 2011). In addition, you may be nearing the end of the run and feel exhausted. In this instance, it is important to stay positive by reminding yourself that you have trained for this run, you will dig deep to finish and everything will be alright. You can even try focusing on making it to the next set of traffic lights or putting one foot in front of the other.
The good news is that Coumbe-Lilley, Hamstra-Wright, and Weidney (2015) found that through self-talk and imagery training, runners are able to control their thoughts and emotions. Research also indicates that self-talk and imagery cannot only enhance athletic performance but can also decrease the pain associated with training (Coumbe-Lilley et al., 2015).
With the correct training approach in preparation for your event, tailored strength programming, and race day planning, you can ensure that your day is all about enjoyment and pleasure, injury free. To make sure you are making the most of your training, come in and visit us and our comprehensive Sports Medicine Team at Absolute.
- Coumbe-Lilley, E. J., Hamstra-Wright, L. K & Weidner, A. (2015). Profiling the mental characteristics of sub-elite marathon runners. U.S Sports Academy, 1, 1-11.
Averett, N. (2011). Against the wall. Retrieved from http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/how-to-avoid-hitting-the-wall-while-running.