Like any worthwhile pursuit, the act of running, and particularly setting goals such as entering and completing races,
infers both hopes and fears.
By setting personal goals, you are establishing hopes of improving yourself and earning accomplishments.
This naturally comes with a counterpart: the fear of failure.
As you become a seasoned runner, you're sure to encounter difficulties that raise new fears.
However, there are ways to address and overcome the fears
...that might otherwise impede your progress or derail your efforts completely.
Here are a few of the most common fears runners face and how to conquer them.
Even with extensive training prior to races, there are a number of factors that contribute to performance on any given race day, and running out of steam is a natural fear.
While there are factors you can't control, such as the terrain, the weather, and the performance of other runners in the race, there are certainly steps you can take to combat potential causes of fatigue and ensure the best performance.
Proper training leading up to a race is a must, so that you can at least approximate your level of performance in similar circumstances (length of race, terrain, possible weather conditions, etc.).
In addition, nailing down a suitable diet plan prior to racing can help, as can getting adequate rest. Fatigue is always a concern, but with a proper plan in place, you can definitely work to assuage this fear.
There is a lot of literature available on the sources and treatments for muscle cramps that develop during long races. For the most part, such issues can be preempted with common sense activities like proper nutrition, adequate rest, warming up before races, and listening to your body throughout a race so that you can make appropriate adjustments as needed.
This is a setback that often affects novices, who have yet to nail down a suitable plan for fueling during extended runs. With trial and error, most runners figure out the best ways to fuel before and during races in order to avoid cramping and the need for a restroom mid-race. However, there is no shortage of tips and tricks online. A common observation involves measured carb loading the night before a race, followed by only a light meal in the morning, prior to running.
This is a major concern for amateurs and serious runners alike, since even a minor injury can be a huge setback during training, and of course, during a race. The best way to avoid injury is to know your body and pay attention when it sends pain signals.
Naturally, keeping your body healthy and well with proper nutrition and rest also plays a role, as does paying attention to the terrain (in order to avoid missteps, for example). Proper running gear can help to prevent injuries, as well.
This is a major fear of many runners - that they won't be prepared to perform to expectations when a race day arrives. Luckily, this is one of the easiest fears to combat. All you need to do is set (and stick to) a training schedule that will ensure you are prepared for upcoming events.
To an extent, this relies on setting realistic goals and properly managing all aspects of training, not only including a running schedule, but also cross-training, diet, weight loss, rest, and other possible contributing factors.
Running isn't competitive for everyone in the same way, but for those who run in races (and often those who run for pleasure), there is a level of competition involved. In some cases, you're competing with other runners, but many runners are also competing with themselves in a way, by trying to win a race or beat a specific time for their own personal satisfaction and accomplishment.
Failing to complete a race, beat a set time, or even win a race is the greatest fear for many runners because they have committed so much time and energy to reaching goals. This fear is not easy to dispel, but if you set realistic goals and do everything in your power to meet them, you can enter a race feeling confident in your abilities, and if you ultimately fail, at least feel good about the effort you put in and the lessons you learned that will help you to improve in the future.