I’ve got a lot of it.
Specifically, fear in running.
Way back in 2014 I had the goal of being more fearless.
I got a little bit better that year and then yet another injury happened and had me running with my tail between my legs.
Well, here we are 5 years later and I’ve still got fear.
The biggest one is fear of getting injured (again).
I can trace this current fear back to early 2017 when I was training for the Sugarloaf Marathon after swearing off marathons. I was going to give it just one more go. Sugarloaf was going to be THE one that everything worked. Training was going very well until I was diagnosed with a fibula stress fracture.
Since returning to running after that injury, I have not allowed myself to actively train for a race. I’ve run races but I have not followed a plan out of fear of injuring myself. By not following a plan and doing whatever I wanted, I felt like I was protecting myself somehow. That I wasn’t really committed to the race, that it was a “fun” run and my finishing time didn’t matter.
Now I’m facing my two ‘A’ races – Mount Washington Road Race and Loon Mountain. I’m committed to BOTH races, they are not “fun” races and I do care what my finishing time is. And there’s that 50k that I’m planning on for the fall too. I haven’t run more than 20 miles since 2015 but that’s ok. OMG – Typing that sentence kind of just freaked me out a bit. GAH!
I’ve done both races before – Mount Washington – 2016 and Loon – 2017, 2018. My main focus right now is to improve my time for each. I haven’t pick a time goal yet because, hello fear. Do I go big or try to be conservative? Of course, there are a lot of factors for my goals like how my training is going and the weather, especially for Mount Washington. See even there – I’m letting my fear stop me from putting out a BHAG.
Even though I’m feeling good I’ve still got this lingering doubt in the back of my head that something is going to go wrong. Just last week I had myself convinced I had plantar fasciitis again. I felt a little twinge and it sent my spiraling rather than being a rational human being. Thankfully, I pulled it together after not feeling any more twinges. Nothing like a little twinge to make me recommit to my foam rolling and stretching.
I swear running is at least 99% mental. If I want to be even attempt to be successful in my races, it’s time to work on my mental game once again!
My mind needs to be trained just as much as my muscles and cardiorespiratory system. When negative thoughts creep in, things can quickly take a nose dive.
I can’t becomes my mantra.
Negative Nellie is being replaced with Positive Polly.
Or at least I’m trying to do this. I’m in training so I’m not there just yet.
Along with the positive self talk, I’ve been trying to visualize myself running the actual race. Like I said, I’ve run both races before so I know what to expect – which is good and bad. I know where the really sucky parts are and where Negative Nellie will most likely rear her ugly head.
I’m also visualizing moments where I’ll be fatigued and want to stop. I’m visualizing the last few miles where I’m deep in the pain cave and just want to be D.O.N.E with the damn race. What will I do to get my head out of that moment? How will I direct my attention elsewhere?
Fear is not a bad thing. It’s healthy. But I know that I can’t give into fear and let it paralyze me from trying. Rather, I have to accept that I’m going to have fears and face them one run at a time. I may get injured again. But then again, I may not.
How will I know unless I try?
Linking up with Coaches Corner.
What fears do you have in running?