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Success is No Accident: How to Mentally Prepare for Race Day

Deena discusses visualization strategies, overcoming self-doubt & nerves, how she copes with pain during tough competitions, and the daily affirmations she tells herself.
12 AnswersΒ·11 minutes
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How does mental strength play a role in being successful in distance running?

Mental strength is essential for a distance runner's success and it is important to be your own advocate. Reading books and other materials that help with mindset can also help.
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How do you use visualization to prepare for a big race?

Visualize often and always visualize your goal coming to fruition in the end.
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How do you deal with nerves and confidence issues before big meets?

I like to think of nerves as excitement and when it comes to confidence, it's really just a mindset. A good tactic is to think of three reasons you should succeed in the task at hand before competitions and commit those reasons to memory.
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Any recommendations for overcoming self doubt before a race?

Doubt can be used to your advantage in training and preparation, but when it’s time to compete push aside any doubts and focus on three reasons why you should succeed.
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How do you manage fear and doubt?

Fear and doubt can be managed in a strategic way, by looking at how it can help you move forward instead of letting it overwhelm you emotionally. Have a strategy to move forward in spite of it and make sure it is working for you instead of against you.
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What are your mental strategies for coping with pain during tough workouts and competitions?

Pain is temporary, but results are forever. Keep pushing towards your goals and the reward will be worth it.
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Do you think success 'is a state of mind'? Why or why not?

Positive affirmations are important for success in sports as they can have a physiological effect on the body. Repeating positive thoughts such as "I am strong, I am smart, I am a national champion" can help to increase confidence and motivate athletes to reach their goals.
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What does your marathon week-of-race look like with workouts and nutrition/mental game?

During the taper week before a race, I reduce my mileage by half but still do some quality work, and make sure I'm eating enough carbohydrates and proteins to increase my glycogen stores.
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What do you think all champions have in common? What do you think it takes to be a champion?

Champions have in common an insatiable drive for improvement, known as Kaizen in Japan, which helps them set and reach ever higher goals.
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What are Kipchoge and other African runners doing differently regarding their mental and physical preparation that maybe American and Europeans are not?

The teamwork and altitude training of East African runners, like Kipchoge, sets them apart from Europeans and Americans. They have camps with more than a dozen runners which helps to push and motivate each other, as well as training at high altitudes, which builds the endurance needed to be successful.
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What daily reminders or affirmations do you use to stay focused on your goals and how do you use them?

Reminders and affirmations are effective techniques to get the best out of ourselves. They help us stay motivated and positive, even if we don't reach our goals. Affirmations such as "I'm enough" can help us feel empowered and capable of achieving our goals.
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Can you describe a time you felt unprepared for a race?

I learned that you don't have to have a perfect build up for the race or for life in general, to reach your goals. Despite all the difficulties and setbacks I faced, I was still able to break an American Masters record at the 2015 Chicago Marathon.