5 Ways to Feel Better When You Doubt Yourself As a Runner

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Have you ever had a race or run that went so badly you wanted to quit the sport altogether?


Not every run will be perfect, and we can’t continue to improve each time. It would be nice though!

Any runner can tell you a time or two they’ve felt like giving up the sport and trying something else. I’ve had a few races I’ve trained hard for, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t my day. Don’t get me started on training runs that I’ve had to tell myself to just stay consistent!

After a “bad race” how do you prevent giving up?

Here are a few ways to recover after a bad workout or race:

Put it into perspective

Yes, running is a great hobby and big deal, but your friends and family still love you whether you’re a runner or not. Remember that! Ask yourself, “Did I finish injured? Am I healthy?” Those two factors are far more critical than having a slower race than you wanted.

Remind yourself what the good times feel like

One of my favorite things to do when running isn’t going exactly my way is to remind myself of how PRing or running well felt like. The feeling of crossing the finish line, ecstatic and realizing it was all worth it. Look at your training logs and remember crushing a workout or long run.

Find a running buddy or group

Lift your spirits up and run with a friend or find a group. It’s much easier to run harder at a race because you are with people! Running with friends during your training can be just as fulfilling. The bonus is you can vent about a bad race and workout and then will get it!

Change it up

Personally, I feel as though changing it up, can be great advice for a lot of situations. If you’re feeling burned out, if you have PRed recently in the distance, or if you are trying to find ways to enjoy running again, change it up.

Training for the same distance or same race can get boring over time! A few ways to mix it up are:

  • Find a buddy or run with a group
  • Run new routes or on a new surface
  • Train for a new race
  • Try new workouts

Focus on your own enjoyment

Don’t forget, it’s just running! For most of us, it’s a hobby and something that is supposed to provide enrichment to our lives.

When things do not go as planned, we tend to just focus on the negative and ask why we put ourselves through this. Before each run, tell yourself, I just want to enjoy it.

Every runner goes through the good and the bad, and it doesn’t matter if you are professional or just starting out. Running is not always fun or feels “the best ever.” Try to make your end goal, to have fun. If you make yourself enjoy it, it truly takes the pressure off of it and reminds you why you got in the sport, to begin with!

How do you bounce back from a bad race or run?

Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

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