Between now and October 21, iRun is joining forces with New Balance and elite superhero marathon runners Reid Coolsaet and Rachel Hannah to help you run the race of your life. Each week, we’ll present a new instalment from either Hannah or Coolsaet about how to improve one aspect of your running life. But wait, it gets better! Because New Balance also sponsors Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where Coolsaet will be racing and where we’ll be making a special limited-edition race magazine immediately after the race! Want us to profile you and your run? Simply tell us what you do in response to the phenomenon our race Gods are describing. Make sense? For instance, here’s Coolsaet on how to shake Bad Race Vibes. How do you do it? Let us know, and be included—picture and all—besides our cover stars.
Towards the end, when it really matters and I’m fighting to not slow down, once the pain starts coming—whether its an upset stomach or my quads are burning or my legs feel heavy—if I let that overcome me, I’ll slow down. I have to override those negative thoughts: oh, the race doesn’t mean anything, you can slow down. I have to override that. You’ve worked hard for these last kilometres, keep yourself going and sometimes to take my mind off the pain I’ll remind myself of proper form. Drive your knee, drive your knee, drive your knee. Or: quick steps, take quick steps. My cadence sometimes drops at the end of the race so if I can think about that, maybe the thoughts of the pain might recede. Take it one K at a time, don’t panic. And if you do drop, don’t try and make up for it, but rather try and get back on pace.
I’ll get a little motto when I’m racing. Sometimes it’s like: keep it moving, keep it moving, keep it moving, and I’ll just say that again and again as a reset in my brain. One time I was racing and the pacemaker fell of and I was doing all the leading and the motto was: make them pay, make them pay, make them pay.
Bad vibes in a race are going to happen. You have to override them. Sometimes, you can.
Now share with us your thoughts. How do you keep them demons at bay?
As my coach always says when we prepare for a marathon, “Plan the Race, then Race the Plan”. What I have found is the most important part is the mental strategy of the race, the physical part is already done. In the case that negative thoughts creep into the mind, I am ready with mental tactics to ease the mind and keep the confidence high. Having my own mantra to repeat to myself such as “Trust your plan, trust your training” and S.E.L.F (Smooth, Easy, Light, and Fluid). As the race nears the end where you need to grind, I focus not on the watch but on a few inspiring people and experiences. First, someone that I am running for, in my case its always the memory of my grandparents. I want to make them proud. Second, a runner that I want to emulate and visualize their running style, for me I have always admired Desi Linden for how she races smart and closes well. Lastly, I remember one of my previous races where I finished strong – whether racing to a personal best or crossing the line feeling accomplished! When I remember that race, I focus on how I can obtain that same rush and emotion.
The marathon is a long, gruelling race, where anything can happen. I have a plan in place not only to formulate a pacing strategy, but more importantly, a mental strategy. This is the best thing one can do so you embrace the obstacles that may come and not fear them.
-Jeff Shikaze, Calgary
Running my 6th Marathon at the Toronto Waterfront
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