Every now and then, life throws us a curveball. Whether you're a seasoned ultra-runner or just someone trying to stay active, setbacks can strike at any time. It might be a discouraging race, an unexpected injury, or simply a dip in motivation. However, one thing is for sure: setbacks don't have to be permanent roadblocks. With the right approach, you can bounce back stronger than ever. Here are three steps to help you overcome running setbacks:
In the world of running, setbacks are not just obstacles; they're opportunities for growth. Whether you're a seasoned ultra-runner or a novice hitting the trails, setbacks can strike unexpectedly. It might be a race that didn't go as planned, an injury sidelining you, or a dip in your running spirit. However, one thing is certain: setbacks don't have to define your running journey. With the right approach, you can bounce back stronger than ever. Here are three essential steps to help you overcome running setbacks:
Step 1 - Embrace Your Feelings
Understanding setbacks in your running journey goes beyond the specifics of any given race or training session. It's about recognising that what you're striving for is far from easy, and it's a pursuit that few undertake. Along this challenging path, obstacles like injuries or unexpected hurdles are bound to arise, no matter when or where your journey takes place.
If you find yourself falling short of your goals, it's essential to acknowledge your feelings. Running isn't merely a pastime; it's a deeply ingrained passion. Allow yourself to experience disappointment without judgment.
While indulging in days of sorrow for a slower training session might be excessive, taking time to process the disappointment of a subpar race is entirely reasonable. Your dedication to your running journey is a testament to your commitment, something to take pride in.
If you're among those who didn't achieve your desired outcome, it's okay to feel disappointed. Running isn't just a hobby; it's a passion. Give yourself permission to experience those emotions, but remember to keep them in check.
Step 2 - Analyze and Reflect
Once you've allowed yourself to feel, it's time to take a step back and objectively assess what went wrong. If it was a race that didn't go as planned, consider writing a race report for your eyes only. Describe your emotions and thoughts from the moments leading up to the race, during the race, and afterward. This exercise can help you pinpoint where things started to unravel. Maybe it was a poorly packed backpack that left you soaked, or perhaps you lingered too long at aid stations.
If you're dealing with an injury or waning motivation, trace back to when the problem first emerged, and follow the timeline to the present day.
Step 3 - Create a Comeback Plan
Now that you've identified the root of the issue, it's time to devise a plan to address it. Sometimes the solution is straightforward, like repacking your gear more efficiently or investing in better socks to prevent blisters. However, for many, this step can be challenging, as each situation is unique. Research and seek advice from experts in the field. Running coaches can assist with training plans, physiotherapists and strength coaches can aid in recovery and preventing imbalances, and experienced athletes can offer race advice and motivation.
The most crucial aspect of this step is commitment. No matter how well-crafted your plan is, its success depends on your dedication. Setbacks are a part of every runner's journey, but they don't have to define it. Follow these steps, and soon enough, you'll be back on the road with a renewed sense of purpose and a spring in your step. Your running story is far from over; it's just entering a new and exciting chapter.