3 Dangers of a ‘Perfect’ Running Season & What to Do About Them

© Dreamstime.com

© Dreamstime.com

Have a great year of racing? What about a perfect year – nothing but personal records, or PRs? Great, right? Yes, absolutely! Until. . .the next season rolls around. Don’t let countless ‘Wuhoos!’ fool you — there are some big dangers to reaching near racing perfection. Why? Because it messes with your head. Here’s how:

Are you a tortoise or a hare?

If you’re anything like me, you have a fancy-shmancy running watch and dissect your training data with numbers and colorful graphs but don’t even need to — I memorize my course records without consulting Garmin Connect. Constantly comparing your running then to now to see how you ‘measure up’ can mean risking disappointment if you don’t.

You can’t put on a bib and bite your nails at the same time!

Sure, a few pre-race butterflies can give you a little extra ‘pep’ in your step to increase turnover and decrease numbers on your watch. Coveting a prized PR for an upcoming race, though, can also mean feeling pressured to perform long before toeing up to the start line and an impending rain cloud over your head if you walk away without one.

Fighting the fire of self-doubt

If you’re even a skosh too much the competitive type, a little success can go a long, dangerous way. Unless you’re Usain Bolt, any runner is bound to be bound to few perfect racing seasons, which can leave you wondering if it’s possible to do it again — ever?’ That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself going into each race of a new year!

Not so bueno, there are more than a few ways to get caught in these and other anxious spider webs. But, have no fear! There is hope.

2014: 11 races, 11 PR's!

2014: 11 races, 11 PR’s!

Here are a few pointers for soothing the savage high expectations beast:

1) Cut yourself some slack

Stop your watch at 12.2 miles instead of 13 for last weekend’s long run? Didn’t go sub- whatever minute marker you wanted on the track? So what?! Here’s some top-secret, insider-only info. Ready? You’re only human! One day of being a little ‘off’ won’t hurt your training. There’s always another workout to hit — or better — those numbers.

2) Learn from losing

Not hitting a race goal can undoubtedly be disappointing. But, hey, you can’t win ’em all! So let the dust from the unexpected crash of your fallen star settle a bit, then ask yourself ‘Why?’ Were you feeling what could be the start of a nagging injury? Or maybe just not feeling it that day? Pinpointing the answer can to avoid a similar future fate.

3) Last, but most certainly NOT least, have FUN!

Training is supposed to be tough. Otherwise, you’re not doing it right. Still, it should be more enjoyable than not. Maybe we’re all a little nuts to run like we do. But we’re the good kind of crazy who not only embrace but can also enjoy the challenge that only another race fee and crisp race bib can bring. Remember why you run – to enjoy it!

No matter what your racing past, present, or future, I wish you many, many miles that make you shout, ‘Wuhoo!’ along the way.

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