As winter draws to a close, the running world comes back to life as many of us begin signing up for races, getting back into shape and looking into training programs in preparation for what’s ahead. But then there’s the majority of runners who look at their calendar in dread, psyching ourselves out in what can only be described as fear. Fear of what? This is specific to the individual, whether they’re afraid of returning to the track after taking time off OR are a beginner, hoping to take part in your first race. Fear can be crippling for runners, keeping us from reaching our goals.
We’re breaking down some of the MOST COMMON fears amongst runners, along with tips on how to face them
1. Fear of Losing
Or more specifically, fear of coming in last. The first thing to keep in mind that while you’re spending time training and building up a goal time for the race, there are most likely hundreds (nay, thousands) of others in the same race who won’t do any training and will walk a majority of the distance. So rest assured that the spot for the LAST person is already taken, sorry. As for being afraid that you will finish behind a local competitor or someone you know in the race, going in treating the race as shear competition is bound to leave you disappointed at the finish line.
Face it: Go into the race without a goal time, just run it. Based off of how you’ll do, you’ll feel less hesitation to continue partaking in races, treating it as a way of building yourself/your body up instead of focusing on bringing others down.
2. Fear of Getting Injured
While running may appear to be the simplest of athletic activities (we were born to run on our own 2 feet naturally, right?), A Runner’s World recently polled that around 66% of runners manage to injure themselves WHILE training for a race. Why? Because they don’t know their limits and ultimately OVERTRAIN. When a person dedicates so much time and effort towards competing in a race, how do they look past the fear that in a matter of a few miles, they could accidentally tweak something, preventing them from running?
Face it: We’re going to go with an article on the 10 Laws of Injury Prevention. Here they are: know your limits, listen to your body, shorten your stride, consider strength training to build your body up in time for that race, RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), run on a level surface, don’t overdo the speed workouts, STRETCH, incorporate cross-training into your workouts, and get the right shoes (at A Runner’s mind :)
3. Fear of a Lifestyle Change
Let’s face it, deciding on which race you’re going to do and chalking up the money for it is a piece of cake. Making that commitment to change your lifestyle in order to accomodate a training schedule, a proper diet AND keeping up with your work and friendships…it can be overwhelming. You’re not always going to be able to go out for drinks with friends on a Saturday night when you know you have a long run to do Sunday. And if you have a family to take care of, you may have to start waking up pre-5am to fit in that workout.
Face it: The key to not letting the fear of change overcome your ability to train succesfully and commit is simply BALANCE. Training shouldn’t be a death sentence for your social life. Give yourself a personal day each week, take the day off running, and do something that motivates you. Whether it’s going to a museum by yourself or planning a movie night with friends, having a social gathering to look forward to will give you the satisfaction that making some changes to your life in order to accomplish your race goals doesn’t mean you have to compromise on what makes you happy!
4. Fear of Running in Front of Large Crowds
Do you favor running solo on a path without many fellow runners? Do you feel self-conscious when you see others who feel comfortable running in minimal clothing? Or maybe you’re simply uncomfortable with the idea of running with SO many other people that you might get trampled and feel claustrophobic mid-race. Whatever the reason, wanting to run alone doesn’t mean you ARE alone in fearing crowds.
Face it: Before your race, try joining up with a running group or a friend who enjoys hitting the pavement from time to time. Get yourself used to be amongst others and know that even though you’re not the only one in the race, this race is all about YOU. Don’t feel like you’re being rude by simply running alongside a group and plugging in your headphones. Just remember that when race day rolls around, those crowds are going to be what keeps you going for that last stretch of the race (trust us).
5. Fear of The Unkown
As your race day approaches, your head may be spinning while you wish you could foresee what’s going to happen. Common fears include worry about getting a cramp mid-race, not having enough electrolytes and burning out, and facing unexpected course situations due to weather or surface terrain.
Face it: …we hate to say this but GET OVER IT, FRIEND! You can’t be afraid of what you don’t know because, let’s see, you NEVER know what to expect. Instead, EMBRACE the challenge ahead and get excited for taking part in a race without expectations.
Whatever your fear is, A Runner’s mind is here to help you overcome it! Drop by our store or give us a call anytime and we’ll do our best to get you going.