1. Be prepared.Part of being ready for your race is obviously making sure you do the proper training. But you can do other things to help feel better prepared for your race, which can lower your pre-race anxiety levels. For example, many runners like to study the course map so they know exactly what to expect. If you know that aid stations will be at every other mile on the course, you'll feel less anxious about staying hydrated during your race.
If you're traveling to a race and you're anxious about forgetting an important race item, start packing early and use a checklist to make sure you're not missing anything. Waiting until the last minute to get ready will increase your anxiety.
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Mental Tips for Marathons
2. Expect the unexpected.
Preparing for the unexpected can also bring your anxiety down to a manageable level. I always tell my runners to practice running in all kinds of weather: rain, snow, sleet, heat. So if rain is in the race day forecast and you've already run in the rain, that's one less thing to be worried about.
3. Develop pre-race rituals.Rather than trying to fight performance anxiety, elite athletes use pre-race rituals to help them manage it. They might listen to music on an iPod, pray, meditate, or go through a specific warm-up. Work on developing your own pre-race rituals and do them before every race, so they become familiar and relaxing.
4. Try deep breathing.
When you're anxious, your breathing becomes shallow. Try breathing deeply from your belly. You'll feel an instant calming effect and you'll also help prevent side stitches.
More: How to Breathe While Running