Put the pain in its place

How do the top run­ners han­dle the dis­com­fort of a tough race? Here are their strate­gies

Runner's World (UK) - - RUNNING BATTLES -

PRAC­TICE MAKES PER­FECT

‘The best way to deal with pain men­tally and phys­i­cally is to pre­pare my­self in prac­tice,’ says Univer­sity of Hous­ton mid­dledis­tance run­ner Dre­van An­der­son­Kaapa. ‘Once I get to the race it is noth­ing more than an ex­ten­sion of what we have al­ready been do­ing in prac­tice and liv­ing out per­son­ally.’

BE­LIEVE IN YOUR TRAIN­ING

Have con­fi­dence in the work you have put in and re­mind your­self of that be­fore and dur­ing the tough part of the race. Elite run­ner Jenny Scherer found her con­fi­dence boosted by her coach. ‘Pr­erace my coach would give me a pos­i­tive pep talk, touch­ing on all the hard work I’d done to pre­pare for the race and giv­ing me an ex­tra boost of con­fi­dence,’ she says. ‘I think it helps to have full faith in your coach and the plan you have ex­e­cuted to get to where you are.’

SEG­MENT THE RACE

Jackie Are­son, a world in­door fi­nal­ist, uses a va­ri­ety of cop­ing meth­ods. ‘ When it re­ally gets tough, break the race down into man­age­able pieces,’ she says. ‘Fo­cus on get­ting to the next 200 or even the next 100m.’

TAKE YOUR MIND AWAY

Elite miler Tommy Sch­mitz tries to stay re­laxed and dis­tract him­self from what is to come. ‘For me, pre­par­ing for the pain means get­ting away from the thought process and go­ing else­where, whether that’s a joke from a friend or talk­ing to the crowd,’ he says. ‘If I think too much about the race, I’ll psych my­self out.’

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