Dr. Daniel Leichter is a clinical psychologist for MossRehab at Doylestown Hospital and the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. He is also an avid long-distance runner. Today, he shares some of his personal tips for mental preparation before a big race.
Physically ready for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run? Check.
Fueling up on the right foods? Check.
Mentally prepared? Hmmm….
If you are reading this, then you probably have committed to the belief that the Broad Street Run is a good idea. Running Broad Street is a noteworthy challenge for any veteran runner or a first-timer, and a wonderful way to connect with friends, get healthy and reach personal milestones. Keep in mind, however, that the challenge is not just physical, but mental as well.
The same principles that apply to being successful in any challenge can easily be transferred to training for the race. First and foremost, you are at your best when you relax and breathe deeply. Practice this at home by deeply breathing in a comfortable low-stress environment for ten to fifteen minutes a day - maybe on your way to work or when you get up in the morning. As you learn how to gain control of relaxing quickly, you will likely be able to apply this under difficult circumstances (like after mile seven when you are moving through South Philly towards the stadiums).
While you are training, take one easy step at a time: go at your own pace. Like a good friend once said, simply "put one foot in front of the other" and soon a few steps will turn into a mile or two and eventually ten.
It is a lot more fun to take on challenges together as a team. Running is an individual activity, but keep in mind that 40,000 of your friends are in this as well. We will be offering words of encouragement and giving you that extra push needed to make it to the end. We'll be there with you the whole way.
Find inspiration. Think of someone or a group whom you can represent in this wonderful event—someone whom you can keep in your heart to give you the motivation to go a little further and be a little stronger. This is what will take you to the finish line.
Good luck and remember: Stay relaxed, one step at a time, breathe deeply, your friends are with you, and find inspiration.
See you on Broad Street.
Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.