Questions From Last Week’s Readers
What led you to start this blog?
Up until this year, I was training like a pro athlete, homeschooling two kids (ages 8 and 10), managing the house and extra curricular activities, and becoming more sleep deprived every day. With my husband working long hours as well, this was just too much. Our kids had been showing an interest in going to a school, so we decided it was time to make the change. This allowed me to be more focused on my running career and whatever else came with it. When the Sendai Half Marathon was brought to my attention as a possibility, I started to think of ways that an experience like that could be shared. This is when starting a blog popped into my mind. Then the more I thought about starting a blog the more I liked the idea. I always enjoyed writing, and I could talk about running, racing, and anything related all day long. So I started organizing my ideas, and I created this blog!
How should runners deal with the emotional setbacks of missing out on goals or running injuries?
Dealing with setbacks and injuries takes practice. Runners, for the most part, are very hard on themselves. I will start by talking about injuries.
Injuries are extremely hard to deal with. For me, being injured is harder than missing a goal. There are things that you can do, though, to make being injured less unbearable.
What you can do Mentally
- Remind yourself that being injured is just a bump in the road. It is not forever, and proper rehab can get you back to where you were before.
- Make a post injury plan. Sometimes having a plan for getting back into shape can be reassuring.
- Rehab with a friend. Having support can make the road to recovery easier.
- If you miss a race because of an injury, remind yourself that there are many other races out there to compete in.
- Remind yourself that allowing your body to heal will make you stronger and faster. Pushing through pain is one thing. Pushing through an injury causes more damage and could even lead to another injury.
- Find ways to improve your running form. Proper running form reduces the risk of injury.
What you can do Physically
- Strengthen other areas of your body, like your core. Ab work, back strength. For many runners, going to the gym is not high on the priority list, but doing something that will benefit running is better than nothing.
- Find someplace that has an Alter-G Treadmill (zero gravity treadmill).
- Yoga and Balance Exercises
- Stationary bike
When I am injured and stuck in the gym doing balance exercises and core work, I think about how good it will feel to be out there running again. I remind myself that this day will come. I just need to be patient and mentally strong.
Missing out on a goal is disappointing, but it can also be a learning experience. I look at every race as a learning opportunity whether it is a “PR” race or a “missed goal” race. For a missed goal race, ask yourself these questions. “Did I go out too fast?” “Did I have too much left for the last mile?” “How did I feel before the race?” “Did I do anything different before the race that I do not normally do?” All runners have off days, even on race day.
In the last half marathon I competed in, I felt off before the race started. My heart rate was high, and I did not feel right. Instead of feeling like I could fly right off the start, I felt like I could barely hold onto race pace. Every single mile of that race was a fight. My time ended up being okay, but it wasn’t even close to my goal. I knew before the start that my time was not going to be good, so I didn’t give myself a hard time when I saw my finish time. Was I happy with this? No, but giving myself a break was okay. I was either dehydrated, fighting a virus, run down from hard training, or affected by the extreme humidity that day. Whatever it was, I knew it wasn’t normal and that I should not be discouraged. Not every race day is perfect.
So if something like this happens to you, try to figure out why it happened. What did your training look like in the weeks before the race? Not enough recovery? Too much recovery? Not enough race pace? Was this a hilly course? Did you train for hills? What was the humidity on race day? Have you been getting enough sleep? All of these questions can ease your mind and help you figure out the best race week routine and race strategy that will allow you to achieve your goal!
After you evaluate what happened, look forward. Pick the next goal race. Stick to your plan, work hard, stay strong, run fast! You can do it!