It's easy to get very caught up in one bad workout or one bad race. This can set you up for a mindset where you feel you have to work much harder (potentially leading to overtraining or injury) and potentially setting yourself up for destructive mind games. Learning to deal with disappointment when training and racing is a part of mental training. Remember that if the goal that you are aiming for isn't challenging, it would be easy! So how do you deal with the hard times?
Stop beating yourself up
Ask yourself if in a year you’ll remember this. Chances are you won’t. Ask yourself if the outcome from this demoralizing race or workout will mean that you’ll never make your goals? It might feel like it but, probably not. It’s ok to wallow for a bit but acknowledge the disappointment and move along.
Evaluate your mistakes
For a training run or a race, did you start too fast? Did you have tummy troubles? Did you forget to practice mental tricks for when it gets hard? Were you tired because of poor sleep? Did you train too hard or too much? Were you feeling worn down and frazzled because of stress? These are mostly things you can control and can practice during training.
Understand what you can control and what you cannot control
We can only control so many things. We can control our mind, our bodies, how we prepare but we can’t control the weather, the race logistics, some work/life stress, etc. Think about it, were you tired because of lack or sleep or feeling worn because of work stress? Was it hot or windy that day? Did you let your mind get the best of you? Did you wear something new or over dress? It is not fair to beat yourself up over things you could not control.
Manage your expectations
This goes back to the mental training referenced in the last email/blog. Was your expectation/goal really achievable. Did you set yourself up for success? One run or race won’t make or break your training. But it’s important to have realistic goals for your training and for your goal race.
And maybe you can’t pinpoint any issues. Sometimes you can just have an off day. It happens to everyone!
How do we deal with it?
Move along and find the positives. Run in the moment. Run grateful. Smile and thank a volunteer during your next event. Run for Awe. Run to see what you can accomplish on one particular day. Remember this is supposed to be fun!