How to mentally recover from a bad race
We’ve all had them. Sometimes you know from the moment you wake up that the run is going to be a struggle. Sometimes you head out full of confidence and come limping home after a fall. And that’s just regular training runs.
Does anything really compare to the feeling waking up with the flu on race day, or registering a DNF thanks to a vicious cramp? It’s difficult to recover mentally from knocks like this, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how.
Let it feel bad
It’s ok to feel disappointment, anger and sadness after having a poor performance. Having the right running mentality lets you prepare for set backs. If you’ve invested hours and hours of training, it’s natural to feel let down. Find safe ways to express those feelings. This is not the place to stop processing – the next step is to…
Identify a plus
Something good must have come from the run, even if it ended badly. Are you satisfied with how your training went? Did you keep running further than you thought you could? Maybe there’s some proof in there about your tenacity or perseverance. Find something good out of the experience and focus on that. It is one of the keys to maintain a good running mentality even when things are not going as you planned.
Take a breath and reflect
Once you’ve given yourself a week or so to come to terms with the day, it’s time to look back over what happened with an analytical eye. Can you identify what went wrong? Is there something you could have done differently or was it an unpredictable occurrence? Check back over your nutrition and training journals. Change what you can and forget the rest.
New goals, new victories
Hopefully identifying the cause of your poor performance has given you renewed motivation for a comeback race. Don’t let one bad day put you off running for good. If you bonked on your first marathon, maybe regain your confidence by signing up for a half. Schedule a couple of ‘easy wins’ to prove to yourself that you can still race.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.