Race Day and Using Your Mind to Help You Succeed

October 19th, 2011 by Dr. Rachel

Congratulations, you have been training and now the day has arrived. You may have been waking up early to get your training in, planning your day around it, and have probably asked yourself on several occasions, are you really doing this? Well, here you are. The day is approaching and you have put a lot of hard work into your preparation for this day that you will be able to cross that finish line and say “I did it!” At this point you need to trust your body and all of the training that you have done, but you also need to trust your mind and use it to your advantage. So, at this point, let your mind do its job. 

There are a few mental strategies that are useful to use on race day. The first is imagery and visualization, which involves the process of creating ‘pictures’ in your mind and seeing yourself succeed. Additionally, you will want to use positive thinking and self talk. Our mind is extremely powerful and if you tell yourself something enough you will believe it. Also, our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are all connected. Therefore, if you have negative thoughts you are automatically going to start feeling poorly and not able to fulfill your goal. You may see that you slow down and all of a sudden feel pain that you did not feel before. So, the first thing you need to do is get rid of all of your negative thoughts. You can simply say “stop” if your mind starts going there. You need to approach the situation in a positive way, see yourself succeeding, and then motivate yourself utilizing positive self talk. In essence, your mind needs to be your own personal cheerleader. It is often helpful to also have a word or phrase that you can say to yourself that will remind you why you are doing this, what you are doing it for, and that you can do it. Perhaps something as simple as “I can” that you can repeat to yourself when you need that extra pick me up. Also, remember the facts and remind yourself that you ARE prepared and that you not only CAN do this, but you ARE doing it. Now get out there and have fun!


Dr. Rachel is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in obesity and weight management. She also has training in sport and health psychology. She currently works at Bellevue Center for Obesity & Weight Management. She ran in the 2007 NYC marathon, several half marathons, and a sprint distance triathlon to raise money for RunBuddies. She continues to live an active lifestyle and enjoys helping others live healthier lives. Feel free to post a question or comment and/or email her at

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 and is filed under Ask Dr. Rachel.

Leave a Comment

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

January 2011

September 2010

August 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

October 2009

August 2009

July 2009

May 2009

April 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

November 2008

October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008


Ask Dr. Rachel (4)
Benefit Events (18)
Partners (2)
Press (18)
Uncategorized (66)