AHH, I’m Running a Marathon! Pre-Race Anxiety!

With just about a month to go until the Portland Marathon I am starting to have a little PRE-RACE ANXIETY.

The other night during a run I started wondering, “why did I sign up to run a marathon?” and “I could run 26.2 miles around my neighborhood and it would be less stressful. What is the point of doing it at a structured race? I don’t need a medal!” (But really, it’s such a pretty medal that I am excited about earning it.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.45.19 PM

I had these exact same nervous thoughts leading up to my first half marathon and of course I’m so glad I crossed that starting line. I know it will be the same with the marathon. I’ve been reminding myself that sometimes you just gotta move out of your comfort zone to grow. 

I’ve been hesitant to book our flights and hotel for Portland because I didn’t want to waste the money if I ended up getting injured. Well, with only two more weeks of long runs to go (a 15-miler and a 20-miler), and with lots of butterflies in my stomach I booked everything up on Sunday night.

We’ll be staying at a hotel that is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the marathon starting line which will be really nice. Portland looks like such a gorgeous city, I really wish we were able to spend more time there.

People say there’s no better way to explore a city than to run it, so I guess given our short trip it’s a good thing I’ll be running the full marathon and not the half : )


The race is on Sunday, so on Saturday I plan to hit up the expo and then check out part of the course. I’m concerned about some potential hills that way not have been mentioned in the course description… I spoke to someone the other day who said she ran the RNR Portland Half and there were more hills than she realized there would be.

Considering I am coming from sea level, any amount of hills makes me slightly nervous. I definitely registered under the impression the course was mainly flat. The course profile seems friendly enough. It definitely includes more elevation than I run in Fort Lauderdale but it doesn’t look too daunting. I’m used to running bridges every day so I hope that helps.


My typical elevation gain looks like this, hah!

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 10.58.04 AMThat spike there in the middle is not real. It shows up like that all the time but trust me when I say mile 4 has no elevation gain at all. It’s on a flat boardwalk! There must just be something around there that causes my Garmin to go a little crazy.

Oh well, no matter what the course will actually be like there’s nothing I can do about it now, so I am going to try and not worry about it. As long as it’s pretty close to the course profile (which I think it must be), everything will be okay!

How do you calm your pre-race nerves? 



  1. September 2, 2014 / 6:44 am

    Ah, how exciting that all your travel stuff is booked!! It must finally feel real!!

    To calm my pre-race nerves I visualize visualize visualize! I just think about how much I trust my training and picture myself crossing the finish!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:01 pm

      I keep picturing myself crossing the finish line which helps, but I’m still nervous about what the experience will be like between miles 17 and 26. I think I’ll feel a lot better once I have a 20-miler under my belt!

  2. September 2, 2014 / 6:50 am

    I am so excited for you! It’s almost here! I can’t wait to hear how your 20 miler goes. That must be your next big one, right? Getting a hotel 5 minute walk from the start is AWESOME. That alone should calm your nerves a lot! I know you are nervous and it’s easy for me to say, but you WILL cross that finish line. No matter what, whether you’re in pain, not in pain, tired, not tired… WHATEVER you feel, you will be crossing that finish line and it is going to feel soooooooooooooo sweet. 🙂

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:04 pm

      I’m doing a 15-miler this weekend and then the 20-miler next weekend!

      I feel likes miles 1 – 15 will go pretty smoothly as that’s definitely my comfort zone. After that I tend to start feeling sore so it’ll just be a matter of making sure I’m mentally prepared for 11 miles of sore legs! I think I can do it … no matter how sore I’ve ever gotten running it’s never, ever, ever been as bad as when I was squatting 150+lbs!

  3. September 2, 2014 / 8:19 am

    I am always training on relatively flat ground and then usually races have more elevation. I have started adding some hill training so that I feel more confident going into races. I actually think sometimes rolling hills can be nice because you get the benefit of the downhill…but then again maybe that is just something I tell myself to get through it:)

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:06 pm

      I’ve been thinking about the downhills too! I run the bridge near my house almost every day and the downhill is always welcome and helps me pick up speed. The course has a big bridge at mile 17 that I think will be hard getting up, but the downhill will feel so good… plus I think that’s towards the point when I can start thinking about the finish line being relatively close!

  4. September 2, 2014 / 8:36 am

    That elevation profile doesn’t look too bad to me. You have to keep in mind when listening to someone else’s description of a course to take it with a grain of salt. What feels steep to one runner might be a cake walk to you and vice versa. Collect as many opinions as you can and go with majority rules. Marathonguide.com is a good source for reviews in my experience.

    And when you figure out how to calm pre race nerves let me know LOL. I am the worst with those, you’ve seen my blog posts!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:09 pm

      I had not heard of marathonguide.com before, thank you! I spent way too much time last night reading through reviews of Portland. It seems pretty split on whether there are hills or not… most people who mentioned them described them as gentle. Coming from a place that has NO hills I’m not really sure what gentle means, haha.

      I really hope the nerves just naturally calm down as we get closer to marathon day! I remember being nervous in the weeks leading up to my half marathon, but then the night before I was super calm and slept great. Fingers crossed that happens again!

  5. September 2, 2014 / 9:29 am

    I am soooo excited for you, I know your going to kill Portland. Course profile looks manageable and good idea checking it out before hand. I like to do that as well. I calm my nerves by asking myself “how have I prepared myself for this race?” And I answer myself with ” X number weeks training and a lot of hard work”. ….your have out in the work, your coach is behind you, and so are all of following yor journey. Relax ad enjoy this awesome experience.

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:11 pm

      Haha the course profile would look manageable to YOU since you run elevation all the time!

      Great idea to think about how many weeks of training have gone into this. There were weeks where I think I could have put in more work, runs that I definitely skipped out on because of this or that, but in the end I still logged tons of miles in preparation and never missed a long run. That does make me feel better when I think about it!

  6. September 2, 2014 / 10:38 am

    Yay!! I’m getting so excited for you. There are a bunch of people from my running group going to Portland and now I wish I had signed up for it too! I think what Ali said — trust your training!! You have put in the work and you are ready girl! I also have a bible verse I like to pray on – Hebrews 12:1-2. Whether it’s a bible verse or mantra or whatever I find that so helpful at calming my nerves!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:13 pm

      Yes! I really need to figure out what my mantra for the marathon will be. Lately I’ve been using “stronger than yesterday” which I think applies perfectly to the marathon since I’ll be running 6.2 miles more than I’ve ever run before!

  7. September 2, 2014 / 12:00 pm

    I have been having those same thoughts! (and I am 8 weeks out!). To echo what has been said, trust your training. You have done the hard work. You CAN DO IT! It’s normal to feel anxious–it’s the same adrenaline that will get you through it!
    That is a nice medal! A tangible momento of a goal accomplished!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:16 pm

      I wonder if there is a way to manage adrenaline so that you don’t get a huge rush and then a big crash?!

      I think after running a 20-miler the whole “you’ve put in the hard work” line will resonate with me more. Right now I still have that ahead of me and I don’t think I’ll feel calm about the marathon until that’s under my belt. I think it’ll give me a real mental boost in confidence!

  8. September 2, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    Almost here! So excited for you!

    The first hill (miles 3 – 4) doesn’t feel as bad as it looks – it’s more gradual than it appears there, I think, and you’re in downtown, it’s the beginning of the race, and there’s tons of crowd support. The bridge at mile 17 wouldn’t be fun regardless, but it’s only truly tough because it’s so far into the marathon. Remember that once you’re over the top of the bridge you get to go downhill! And remember to smile for the iconic photo at the end of the bridge with St. John’s bridge in the background. 🙂

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:17 pm

      Oh, thanks for the tip about the photographer at the end of the bridge! That sounds like it will make for a nice souvenir photo.

      I’ve been trying to make sure to run my local bridge at the end of my long runs to get my legs ready for St. John’s but my local bridge isn’t nearly as tall, so I don’t know how much it’s helping!

  9. September 2, 2014 / 2:33 pm

    Hooray – so close to the big day!! You have trained hard and are going to do great! So cool that you have booked your flights and hotel – that makes it even more real!!!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:18 pm

      It does make it more real…. definitely no backing out now that Delta has my money! haha

  10. September 2, 2014 / 4:55 pm

    I had the same feelings before my first marathon!! You’re going to do great!!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:19 pm

      Thanks, Kristen! I remember when you ran your first marathon 🙂 Such an awesome accomplishment. I am looking forward to joining the club even if I’m nervous about it!

  11. September 2, 2014 / 8:35 pm

    This anxiety is completely normal! I would be worried if you weren’t nervous. 😉 I have a lot of friends who have run the Portland Marathon and they all agree that it is a flat course with a good hill that “you will feel” at mile 17. Just think about the prize on the other side of the hill – downhill, flat, and to the finish! When is your 20-mile run scheduled? Maybe during that run you can plan a route with a hill at mile 17 or 18? I better see you in Portland!!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:21 pm

      My 20-miler is not this coming weekend but next weekend! I will definitely plan to run my local bridge at mile 17… the bridge is the only hill we have aside from the speedbumps in the road (so serious). I ran the bridge at mile 16 of my last long, long run and it was hard but doable. My bridge isn’t as big as St. John’s but I hope that running it so often (almost every single day) has helped me in some way!

  12. September 2, 2014 / 8:53 pm

    Sooo exciting!!! And I’ve heard that pre-race anxiety helps in the race hey! That is one beautiful and unique medal too, so you’ve got to do it! Plus, you’ve been training hard and you’ve got this Kristina! You’re going to feel on top of the world once you cross that finish line, and I (along with every other reader here) cannot wait to hear all about it and read your race recap. I (try to) calm pre-race nerves by pretending it’s just another weekend long run (on the day), and by trying to take in all the expo things and excitement, and yes, if its in a new city, exploring the place and looking at the course map to see where I’ll be running. Enjoy Kristina, woohoo! 🙂

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:22 pm

      Ohh, I really like the idea of trying to think about it as just another long run day. Since I’m not racing for time or anything it really is just like another training day…. just one that will have me running 6.2 miles longer than I’ve ever done before… eek!

  13. September 2, 2014 / 9:17 pm

    I am SO excited for you! That medal looks gorgeous!! Do you have your voodoo donut chosen?

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:22 pm

      I don’t! I’m celiac so I don’t think I’ll be able to have one, sadly enough because they look amazing!

  14. September 3, 2014 / 5:21 am

    I just got very excited for you when I read this post! That picture is gorgeous!!!! You will never regret doing this marathon. All of your anxiety will disappear when you start…trust me. I still experience race anxiety now for marathons and I realized that it’s because I really care about it and I’ve invested so much of my time and training into it. You’ll do great and I can’t wait to hear about your long runs!

    • September 3, 2014 / 12:25 pm

      Thank you, Heather! I know you’re sooo right, once I cross the starting line I will calm down a lot, that always happens. I was pretty nervous before my first half marathon but by mile 4 I was just so happy to be on the course and finally doing it!

  15. September 3, 2014 / 3:33 pm

    BREATH BABE! haha you’ve been awesome with your training runs! I believe in you! haha and that medal is super cute so you NEED to finish and get it 😉 I usually just try and pretend the hills aren’t there to trick my body into thinking everything is fine 😉

  16. September 8, 2014 / 10:10 am

    Portland is a really cool place and the Columbia Gorge is just breathtaking! I would love to go back, I only went to Oregon but I did drive through quite a bit of the state and got explore it was really great. All the North western states are beautiful.