HOW DID YOU DO IN YOUR HALF MARATHON? If it you were delighted with the effort, HOORAY for you!!!. If it was a disappointment, and you are moping around and wondering why-you-spent-all-the-time-and-energy-to train-for-such-a-meh-finish (or no-finish), take heart. Runner’s World ran an article quite a while ago, “Let It Go: The Five Stages of Getting Over a Bad Race Experience – And How To Run Better The Next Time” by Kelly Pate Dwyer on November 12, 2009. It addresses a situation that runners inevitably will find themselves in after running a race in which they performed poorly. The challenge you now face is to turn a negative race experience into one that improves future training and race performances.
“Getting into that mind-set and being able to learn from the past and refocus on the future isn't an easy task” after a bad race, says Dwyer. To help runners accomplish this she identifies five time points after the race with suggestions on how to cope with disappointment in order to “recover from the initial letdown and plan your comeback.”
The time points are after the race (immediately after, morning after, and one and two weeks after) and before your next race. She also demonstrates how sports psychologist Neal Bowes recommendation of becoming “process-oriented” differs from the mental approach of being “outcome-oriented”.
Before selecting this article for you, I looked at several others that were more recently published. They were generally about horrible occurrences that befell ultra-distance and elite runners and how they came back as winners in subsequent goal races. I could not identify with these super athletes. Their stories did not help me, because I am not “in their class” when it comes to running. I don’t have spectacular failures because I don’t have spectacular successes. Mine are fairly ordinary. And this started my thinking about the nature of disappointment at my level.
I do think I am “process-oriented”, for the most part, and have a healthy attitude about running and competing. I think my life perspective is good; using Earned-Runs bibs has helped me to stop fretting about not being able to run frequent organized races that my friends participate in together in a social manner. But, when I compare my times, finishes, performances with others (in my age group of course) I am prone to feel let down by the results if they weren't my very best. The simple answer is NOT, to not compare! I need the information: it fuels my efforts. This article lays out clear, timely steps on how runners can pick themselves up after a disappointing race, take stock, set new goals, make training adjustments, and above all persevere in doing something that brings mostly joy.
Image: sculpture at entrance to The Detroit Athletic Club, in downtown Detroit Michigan. The question is who won? The athlete leaning into the tape (invisible here) chest first but with his toe behind the foot of the other runner?
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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