I'm a big believer in visualization. If I can imagine it, see it, think about it, put myself in that place and time, it can and will happen. I've run enough races to say that this method works for me.
A few years ago (two to be exact), I wanted to break into the 1:40s for a half marathon. I signed up for one and then visualized myself crossing the finish line with a 1:4-something on the clock. Sure enough, it happened. This fall, I wanted to break into the 22-minute mark for a 5k. I did the same, and sure enough, it became a reality. Therefore, I've been constantly thinking about 21 for the past week. I have created a mental image in my head of crossing that St. Paddy's Day finish line and PRing.
Although much of PRing is confidence and visualization for me, it also involves being a smart runner. Training for two races at the same time that are vastly different in distance (3.1 miles vs. 13.1 miles) is challenging for me. I ran a long-ish run yesterday - 9.5 miles at a slower pace than normal. I ran today, and will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but won't log many miles. Friday I am taking completely off because I want my legs to be full of energy on Saturday morning for the race. I'm going to run my first 2 miles in the 6's and I need fresh legs to do so.
I made my play list to listen to for the race as well. I always make them for much longer than the duration of my run for some reason. It is like even though I am much faster now than when I started, I have this 10-minute/mile notion in my head for play lists. But I would much rather have too much music than not enough.
This is the first race that I plan on actually warming up for beforehand. Usually I do some random stretches and then just run with the start of the gun. However, I have noticed that if I run for 0.5 mile or a mile beforehand I can run faster in the miles following. Therefore, I will be jogging to the start of the race, which is something totally new for me. It is about a mile from where I live, which is the perfect distance. I'll be wearing my Garmin so if it is farther I can always walk. But, I know I'll be nervous and excited and just ready for the race to begin in the morning. Even as I am listening to my play list now I am getting excited.
Because you're curious....below is my St. Paddy's Day 5k Play List.
1. Take Me As I Am <-- always my first song to listen to!
2. Light Up the Sky
3. Live Like We're Dying
4. Stuck Like Glue
5. Ridin' Solo
6. DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love
7. In My Head
8. Club Can't Handle Me
9. Break Your Heart
11. Just a Dream
12. Party All Night (Sleep all day)
13. Fire Burning
14. Yeah 3x
15. Ray Ban Vision
17. Only Girl (in the world)
I only plan on listening to songs 6-11 during my run. So Party All Night will be the song I am rejoicing to when I realized that my visualization techniques have paid off once again and I am now a 21-minute 5ker.
Do you believe in the power of visualization?