Building running confidence

One of my greatest challenges with running is building confidence. I am finding it especially true as I build back up post injury.

I remember back in 2011 I trained for the biggest race I’ve ever done, a metric century ride and a half marathon the following day. I trained 5 solid months injury free. A couple weeks before the big race I felt so anxious about it. Did I train hard enough? Did I throw down enough miles? Could I have done more?

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One day I was telling Mike how nervous and unprepared I felt, though I had done all of the hard work. I just couldn’t figure out why I felt so apprehensive about something I trained so hard for. Mike being the super smart man he is, explained that I was lacking confidence.

Then it all clicked. Yeah, that’s it. So the last little bit of training I had left turned into confidence building. My fitness was already there, it was time to work on the mental part of training.

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(Both pics above are throwbacks from the CA Classic in 2011)

I nailed the ride and race and to this day I have some of the best memories of training + the race. That sense of accomplishment can’t be beat.

Yesterday I got my hip/knee/ankle realigned at PT and went out for a run. I felt so good I wanted to throw that whole run/walk out the window and just run, but I didn’t. You wanna know the funny thing? I can actually do just that, but I am lacking confidence. I am so afraid of getting injured again, I would rather play it safe which slows down my progress. How dumb is that?

Then a good friend told me that building confidence is the hardest factor when coming back from an injury. He said, you have to face that challenge and overcome it.

Yes, I have very smart friends. Smile

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And again, it all clicked. I am reminded how much running and training is mental.  I’m letting fear of another injury control my confidence and therefore hold me back from my goals of just running.  I’m afraid of hurting myself again, but running cures fear.  And this is another reason why I love it so much.

So, how does one build confidence?

Yah, that’s the hard part. I think it’s a matter of making a conscious effort to get the mind, body, and spirit to connect and work together. For example, yesterday I physically felt great running, but mentally I was worried about getting injured again so I played it safe instead of testing my limits a bit. Then there’s my spirit that says suck it up cupcake, you got this.

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The body will give out long before the mind will, so you have to find a balance that works for you. And if you are injured, stop. Duh. I gotta start listening to the spirit, that chick is cool. She never wants to stop running, even when I’m 90……gosh, it’s like I’m growing up and stuff.

Maybe I’ll write a post about the mind-body-spirit connection, for running + life in general. I am finding it’s a huge thing for me. Especially dealing with the gut issues.

How do you build confidence when coming back from an injury or training?

What do you find is the most difficult part of running you face?

How do you overcome it?

Have you entered the Mizuno giveaway?

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10 Comments on “Building running confidence

  1. I love this – yes running is all mental. Most things fitness related are! It’s amazing what we can talk ourselves out of right? Oh but when you can get your mind and body on the same page – magic happens! I would love for you to post this or a similar post on the Fitness Friday linkup this week as I think it’s exactly the kind of motivation people would want to see! Hope to see you there 🙂

  2. I’m in the process of coming back from an injury (groin pull) and I’m finding that I’ve lost my confidence too. It’s the worst part of the injury recovery to me. I find myself with feelings of anxiety before I run now. Feelings that I had on occasion before but are much more common now. It’s tough. My mental muscles were damaged as much as my abductor was. But on the plus side I’m learning to take each run one mile at a time.

  3. I totally agree – the mental part is the hardest part. I’m running an ultra tomorrow and I know that the last few hours are going to be all about mental toughness!!!

  4. I know without a doubt that when I get the green light to run from my doctor, I will be so terrified of feeling that hip pain again. I think I’m gonna need some mental therapy to go with that physical therapy!

  5. Confidence is hard for me too! I have been improving my running steadily lately, but I already worry what will happen when this streak stops. Also, I tend to race much more conservatively than my ability, because I lack confidence that I can go faster. My new mantra is GO FAST, TAKE CHANCES and I try to embrace that when I run. (But this obviously does not apply to injured folks!)

  6. Building confidence is SO hard. I’m 5 weeks out from my second marathon and already feeling anxious and unprepared. It’s best to trust the training and yourself but most of all remember why you do it-because you love the sport!

  7. I’m sort of in a similar spot….i’m 99.9 percent healed from tendonitis that lasted for 4 months. But as I start to increase my mileage I feel the teeny tiniest twinge in the original part of the foot where the tendonitis began. I know it’s LIGHTYEARS better than it was just a month ago. So that’s what I focus on. I might feel the twinge but i recover quickly and the overall trend is that things are getting better. My speed is not there but I’m not wavered by that. Confidence that I will get back to where I was is deep down and knowing I have 7 months before my next full marathon helps me take the pressure off to rush it.

  8. The mental aspect of running is one reason I love it so much! For me it’s like a leap of faith in knowing that your training is right, and your body will respond accordingly. Luckily I’ve never had an injury that put me out of the game for awhile but I can understand how it would be scary to start running hard/long again. I think you’re on the right track so just keep listening to your body!!

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