Not like the pretty flying ones (it's too cold for those right now) but the ones that fly around your stomach. The butterflies that make palms sweat, stomachs flip and cause all kinds of antsy-ness.
The butterflies sneak up on me before big workouts, on the night before the race and even before I play piano in church. I'm pretty sure I get more nervous to play piano in front of people than I do to run a marathon!
Performance anxiety is the technical name for those "butterflies" that have been chasing me since I sat down for my first piano recital. While I love to compete, present ideas, meet new people, and play music, the performance anxiety that tags along with these experiences can suck out all the fun.
Turns out I'm not alone!
"Millions of people suffer from performance anxiety, commonly called "stage fright." In fact, most people would rather get the flu than perform. Athletes, musicians, actors, and public speakers often get performance anxiety." WebMD articleThe butterflies are not necessarily a bad thing. It means that whatever I'm nervous about must be really important to me and, in running at least, the butterflies give me some extra adrenaline on the starting line. (That extra adrenaline isn't super helpful on the piano though!)
The key for me is learning to cope with the butterflies and not waste a bunch of life worrying about situations I can't control.
I practiced the songs for this Sunday and got all kinds of nervous... and then guess what? The worship team I play on ended up not playing! All those nerves for nothing. Not necessarily nothing — I can always use extra practice and this led me to think up this list.
Here are a few techniques that help me chill out before a hard workout or big race day:
Six Ways to Calm the Butterflies
- Visualize Success. Picture yourself being confident, truly enjoying the performance and running strong. Be realistic but don't catastrophize!
- Destroy Defeating Thoughts. My favorite Scriptures about this are Philippians 4:8 and 2 Corinthians 10:4-6. We can take any unhealthy thoughts captive and re-align them with Jesus Christ and the Truth. Run each thought through the filter of Scripture: "Is this true? Pure? Excellent? Praiseworthy?"
- Learn from Mistakes. Then move on! I tend to replay the bad experiences in my head, like that tennis match where I choked or that piano performance where I messed up big time. Learn the lesson and then press forward. Think of how many times things have gone right and let those mistakes go. And sing Frozen's "Let It Go" song, if that helps.
- Recap The Training. Here's where a training log comes in handy. Look over all those miles you put into training. The early mornings, long runs, and crazy sweaty speed interval sessions... and let's not forget the hill sprints... have prepared you. You've got this!
- Adjust Your Goals. Take the pressure off hitting a specific finish time or pace because so many variables can affect your time and pace (weather, illness, injury, teething babies, etc.) Listen to your body and give it everything you have on that day. Think about all you have learned through the training process and view race day as a celebration of all that work!
- Do It Unto the Lord. You've put in the training and have done everything within your power to prepare. Believe you can do it, give it your best effort and give all the glory to God — because it's all His. Having the health and ability to run is truly a gift from the Lord. We wouldn't have legs to run with without Him!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. PHILIPPIANS 4:8 NIV
|Running before the April Fool's snow|
Fargo Marathon Training Week 13:
This week was originally scheduled as my first 18-miler, but I swapped it with last week and added on 2 miles just for giggles. I'm thankful I did that week swap because the weather on Saturday would have been frustrating for 20 miles! Here's how my "recovery" week went:
3/28 Monday - Easy-Effort with the double stroller: 6.62 mi, 01:00 @ 09:03 avg pace.
03/29 Tuesday - Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 4 mi 00:32 08:00 pace. 3 x 1k @ 6:46/mile pace.
03/30 Wednesday - Strength Training: Side lunges, hip raises, leg raises, bridges. 7 x 1:00 plank variations.
03/31 Thursday - Tempo Run: 6.28 mi 00:51 08:07 pace 2 x 2.25 miles @ half marathon pace: 7:27, 7:36. .5 mile recovery jog in between.
04/01 Friday - Easy-Effort with double stroller: 5.04 mi 00:46 09:04 pace It's Spring! April Fool's... it snowed 2 inches. I hope the warm weather returns soon. 2:00 extended arm from plank. 5 x 1:00 plank variations.
04/02 Saturday - 10k Time Trial: 9.26 mi, 01:13, 07:51 avg pace. WU, 10k TT @ 7:35/mile, CD. The icy roads returned and the north wind was going strong. My CamelBak's mouthpiece froze around mile 6. Brrrr! I want the shorts weather back, please.
04/03 Sunday - Off.
Total Mileage: 31.20 miles
Do you feel anxious before a competition or performance?
What is your best coping strategy?
What is your best coping strategy?
Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.