Are you a runner? The answer to calming your pre-race anxieties may be right next to you. Reach out. Grab your husband. Below his belt.
I haven't run a whole bunch of races, and none of them was longer than four miles. But for my non-athletic self, that's as nerve-wracking as a marathon would be to a serious runner. Will I trip and make a fool of myself? Will I not only come in last, but so far behind the pack that they've cleared the course and no one is around? Did I train enough?
Contrary to years of advice from coaches, many experts now advise that sex before a big race can help your performance the next day.
When you think about it, working up a little pre-race sweat is a good idea in lots of ways. Sex relaxes you and releases tension as well as a flood of oxytocin, which promotes feelings of attachment and well-being. It also promotes sleep, which can be elusive before a big event.
Vaginal stimulation also releases more of a pain-blocking chemical, which is effective for about a day. Sounds like just the thing if you find yourself lagging before reaching the finish line.
Some athletes focus so much on their race that they fear being distracted. Well, yes, you will be thinking about something else other than your race (one would hope) for a short period of time, but the break can be refreshing and keep you from over-analyzing. If you worry about exhausting yourself ... well, you might just be overestimating your love machine-like qualities. Most estimates range from 25 to 90 calories per sex session, hardly enough to wear out a conditioned athlete.
What if you don't have a partner? Well, there's always, ahem, taking matters into your own hands. The key to success, though, is having trained well. I also find positive self-talk helpful, thinking about how much I have trained and how proud I am of what I accomplished. Visualization helps too; I picture myself going through the day, from picking up my race number to finding the starting line to stretching and perfecting my music mix to taking off when the race starts, and then progressing steadily and smoothly through the course until I finish, having met my goal. This works for any big event, from a race to a job interview.
What are your rituals before a big event?
Image via JMRosenfeld/Flickr