I know and train some amazing runners. Among my friends, I can count multiple elites and sponsored athletes. They are each different in training schedules, eating habits, and personality, but all have one trait in common—resilience.
Resilience is that underlying strength that reminds you to keep working toward a goal even when the goal appears to be getting further and further away. In a marathon, especially a qualifier, the pressure to perform at your best is extremely high. A DNF (Did Not Finish) is considered by some to be a black mark on a runner’s record. It is important to remember that one day does not represent your whole life’s experience and one race is not the end of your journey.
You can still learn something from the race, no matter how long you took or if you weren’t able to finish. The mentality it takes to be a good runner is the same mentality that will help you in your daily life. If you have an especially bad day, you can build resiliency through the following:
Talk to your friends. Right after a big disappointment is a bad time to isolate yourself. Try to avoid being alone if you are struggling. Your friends know how important the day was to you and they know what you did to prepare. Let them encourage you and even distract you from the initial disappointment.
Treat your body right. Don’t compound a bad day with worse decisions. Bingeing at any time is a bad idea, but bingeing after a big disappointment is dangerous. Take care of yourself and make the best decisions for the food and drink you consume.
Work on your form. The day didn’t go as planned and you probably know one or two places where you missed a step. Take some time to work on your form and improve your skills before you go for the big race again.
Consult with your coach. A running coach can help identify where you may have over-trained and areas where you could devote more time. A licensed mental health therapist can work with you to build healthier habits and help you reach your goals.
We all have days when things don’t go as planned. You can build resilience by waking up the next day and using a positive mindset to propel yourself forward. If you need a hand or someone to talk to, I am available. Please contact me at (904) 737-7242 to make an appointment.