Quick: What comes to mind when you hear the word “dominate”? Do you envision a zombie apocalypse plundering the earth, a dictator who controls everything his subjects say and do, or are you so invested in your favourite sport that you are comfortable using this word to describe your intention to dominate every race you run?
If you’re reading this article, the last is the most obvious (with apologies to those zombies!), because it’s healthy to want to dominate every time you lace up your running shoes and there’s nothing wrong with having a strong desire to win. And win big. Because you’re a savvy runner, you know that races are as often won in the mind as they are on the ground, so adopting race strategies that help you dominate makes perfect sense.
The following will get you started; the rest is up to you!
Dominate Your Next Race by Being a Girl
Is biology destiny? It is if you extrapolated the data gathered by Running USA that proves the majority of runners participating in 2014 races were women, and the difference in numbers is impressive: 10.7 million female finishers versus only 8 million males. Do men dominate one type of race? Sort of. Female runners dominated every race category except full marathons, but given this gender-based trend’s trajectory, you’ll want to check 2015 statistics the moment they’re published!
Dominate Your Next Race by Being a Guy
Ah, more biology. But statistics don’t lie. When it comes to the hottest running niche on today’s marathon scene, ultras, extremes and obstacle races are the current dominion of men and that trend isn’t projected to change any time soon. Domination plays a major role in the rough and tumble extreme events that are becoming more complex, dangerous and thrilling in nature.
The desire to crush and dominate competitors may, in fact, be wired to men’s DNA, but motivation isn’t. Any man wishing to dominate these events must get their heads on straight by deciding where they’re at and where they want to be at the finish line or their physical efforts alone won’t get them there.
Dominate Your Next Race by Giving Yourself Proper Time to Train
Forget everything you’ve heard about four weeks of training to prepare your body for Herculean challenges. Instead, make that six to eight weeks of conditioning at the very least if you’re already fit. Newbies require from 12 to 16 weeks if they wish to dominate a race.
During this time, focus, focus, focus. Run a variety of distances to build agility and strength—long runs, short runs and everything in-between. If you don’t pay attention to adequate aerobic conditioning, you won’t compete as well, so prioritise and become proficient at body weight techniques and resistance exercises and you’ll discover that your performance can’t help but improve dramatically.
Dominate Your Next Race by Outwitting the Competition
Your challenge begins with the race strategy that leads to a successful mindset that, importantly, requires you to focus on only the things you can control on the morning of your event. Don’t dismiss the importance of pre-race relaxation so your body isn’t a mass of tight nerves that can reverse all of your good work by putting you into a tense, stressful state.
Deal with your anxieties by joking, deep breathing and don’t dismiss motivational techniques like “mirror imaging” where you stand in front of a mirror and describe, aloud, how you plan to dominate your competitors. At the start line, psychologically intimidate anyone in your vicinity by waving and verbally expressing your belief that you haven’t a single doubt that you are meant to dominate this event.
Dominate Your Next Race by Improving Your Non-Dominant Leg
Did you know that by working and focusing on your non-dominant leg when you train, symmetry and speed improve dramatically? This has been documented by sports researchers. Which of your legs is dominant? If you don’t know, find out.
As a rule, 56-percent of all people are right-footed, 22-percent are left-footed and 22-percent show no preference. Your right leg is likely faster than your left if you fall into the majority category, so bring your other leg up to speed by adding reps of one-leg squats, runners’ poses, one-leg heel raises and bicycle leg swings to your conditioning routine that focus on the weaker leg.
This may feel awkward at first, but keep going and your efforts will pay off. How can you tell whether you’ve strengthened your non-dominant leg? Measure the distance you cover during “10 seconds of explosive hopping” on the weaker foot from week to week.
When that leg feels so strong, and you wouldn’t mind doing more, you’ll know that you’ve succeeded in turning your non-dominant leg into an equal running partner.
Dominate Your Next Race by Taking Charge of Your Physical and Mental Well Being
Warm up adequately before you arrive at the start line to boost your confidence and help prevent potential injury. Line up close to the start line as recommended by top athletes to circumvent bottlenecks when the pack leaves the start line. Surprise your competitors by uttering the loudest battle cry you can muster, using a powerful word like “Victory” to broadcast your intentions.
There’s a reason military personnel scream as they go into battle: the act of screaming has been proven to boost the confidence of the shouter and few things intimidate competitors more than a healthy shout.
During your event, take sensible risks; let your competitors take the foolish risks so you continue to control and dominate the event. And don’t forget to enjoy your race. Laugh. Smile. Your competitors will wonder what you’re up to as you race past them toward the victory you proclaimed when you left the start line!
Do you find the whole idea of domination to be out of place in running situations or do you agree that the more one strives to dominate a race, the more likely he or she is to come out on top?