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How do you handle your head during a race? If you are hurting and want to slow down in a 10k let's say, I struggle to convince myself it's only another 20 minutes, I so want to slow down ;-) I reckon the best place to be I guess is to somehow target just the next km without thinking oh dear I have 4 more of these and I think I might even stop. I didn't in the last race and I'm not sure exactly how I hung on other than once you have a certain rhythm you have kept for 4-5km there's a part of you that just keeps that going anyway. I just wish I could keep that rhythm and not think about the race at all for 5 minutes. Interested to hear how you all handle your head space in a race.
 

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i know exactly how you feel, depends how you feel i guess actually on race day.

I did a ten mile race before talking up to mile 7 and looking about at the scenery and really enjoyed it, then another race i have been thinking of pulling out at mile 3 on a 20k race.

I have heard and even tried if you feel fatigued you should pick a goal to get to next say a lampost then pick out bits as you go along ahead instead of thinking of the 10 miles you got left... it does stray your mind off it a bit then...
 

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I find picking a person in front of you and making it your goal to overtake them works well. Once you've overtaken them, pick another and so on.

It worked a treat for me in my last half marathon when it was cold, wet and raining and I was desperate for a wee the whole way!
 

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It depends what kind of a state you're in really... I mean if you've completely blown it and gone off too fast, it's better to just settle down to a sustainable pace - damage limitation if you will.

If you're running hard and well, and it's doubts in your mind, then it's a case of focusing on those ahead, and reminding yourself that they're probably feeling just like you are! If that doesn't help and you're not at risk of throwing away a race, admire what's around you or think about other things in the hope that autopilot will take over ;)

One you've passed the halfway point in a race, I tend to picture it as I'm running downhill from that point onwards - you've done the hardest bit, and it's just a case of coasting in to the finish.
 

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My philosophy is to try and stop thinking about running when you are doing it. I run best when my mind switches off from the activity and goes into dream land.
 

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I'm not sure if I've chickened out or not, but I tend to try to start near the back, because as as already been mentioned, it works for me to keep picking off people in front of me. In my last race, there was a bunch who overtook me early on, and I just kept them in my sights, and stayed with them, and at the end found something to power past them, although there were others who came past me and made me feel like I was going backwards! If a load of people fly past me, especially early on, I find the competitor in me either wants to keep up or gets despondent and wants to go home! Maybe when I get a bit better I will start nearer the front of the field :cool:

When I am hurting, I also use an NLP trick to get myself into the right space - I have mentally rehearsed the best I have ever felt when running, and associated it with pressing my thumb and forefinger together - I do it before races, and its like an instant shot of adrenaline, and do it in the later stages when I need to remind myself how good running can feel when you're flying - it gives me a boost and gets me focused on why I'm there in the first place :)
 

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Roadrunnerrob and Leece - I like your methods... I might give them a try! (Maybe not at the same time though otherwise I will probably run into the lamp-post I want to get to!!!)

My head is all messy when I am on my own and things could de-motivate me very easily - so I just try to concentrate on my core strength now (pilates) which helps me run better... making sure my shoulders are back, I am breathing right, not leaning forward etc etc.
 
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