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Confidence. Immediately takes me to Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
Becoming Confident as a Runner (Six Qualities)
Becoming confident in any area of life or skilled pursuit is tricky, but when so many recreational runners are mixed with serious amateur athletes and then elite athletes in races, on trails, in the gym, in the blogisphere…. Being in the company of so many runners who are better than you can be intimidating. So how do you tame your inner demons and head out there like a boss?
1) Running Confidence stems from doing Physical Homework
The most confident people are those who are assured of their competence. Becoming confident as a runner requires not only that you become physically competent. Physically competent does not mean that you are fast or that you run marathons without ever walking. In fact, some of the best and most consistent runners that I know personally run an 11:00 min/mile pace while running and have scheduled walking breaks. They are 100% still runners, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
What makes these runners physically competent? They do their homework. Runners and run-walkers alike must do their injury prevention exercises, they must do speed work (and yes, EVERYONE CAN DO SPEED WORK), they must do their easy runs… they do the work. Regardless of how fast your pace, anyone at any pace can be a confident runner as long as they do their work.
2) Confident Runners Set Themselves Up for Successful Running
That means doing the work on your runs, but also out of your running shoes. Being mindful of your eating and activity level the night and day before your big runs, wearing proper clothing, getting good sleep. They show up and come ready to run. They get new shoes, do their summer running prep, get help when needed, and rest when needed. They make smart decisions. Do they hit their goals each and every time? No, but they also realize the next point…
3) Confident Runners Know that Every Run is An Individual Step in a Long Race
By that, I mean that they know that you are going to take missteps and triumphs along the way, and that while each step is connected and come together to be a larger distance, each step is also slightly independent. You are going to have rough runs; you are going to have amazing runs. Some times, you will do everything right and still come up short and or hurt. But that is also just life. Greet each run knowing that you have done what you can, you have set yourself up for success, and then smart decisions.
4) Confident Runners Realize that Fast is Relative and Effort is What Counts
Ok, the talk about being fast and confidence. “Fast” is different for each and every person. Just like beauty. I used to be a much faster runner than I am currently, but the pace that I currently run are still fast in the eyes of others. Some of the fastest runners I know are the most insecure with their running (and with themselves in general). With great power comes great responsibility, as it were.
Know that you are lapping everyone on the couch, as they say. You are getting out there. Be proud of the effort that you are putting in, and stop belittling what is a true accomplishment for you. I have to correct Alex all the time–just because I was running 50 miles/week at one point doesn’t make your Personal Distance Record (PDR) of 6 miles (which he hit on Monday WOOOOO!) any less awesome! Compete with yourself.
5) Confident Runners Do Their Mental Homework Before Challenging Runs
This has two parts:
a) Mental Homework means learning about your sport.
Every runner benefits from learning about marathon training plans, learning common marathon training terms, and thinking about which pacing strategies are best for them. Be able to talk the talk. Not only will you feel like you can hold your own when talking shop with other runners, but you will also expand your applicable knowledge so that you improve your running!
b) Mental Homework means psychological preparation.
Have a run coming up that is making you shake in your Nike’s a little bit? Use psychology to set yourself up for success: during your prep, visualize yourself conquering each part of the run that worries you, finishing strong at the end of each repeat, and nailing that pace. Take yourself to a calm place mentally and then focus on the job at hand.
6) Above all, Confident Runners Run Their Own Race
If I could say anything about confident runners, it is that they run their race. Remember Desi Linden at the US Olympic Team Marathon Trials? Girlfriend ran her race, and no one else’s, and she nailed it. When I ran the Phoenix Marathon, I knew that other people would have their own strategies, and I focused on running my race, and I #nailed it.Need help becoming confident? Runner or not, follow these 6 steps #runchat #fitfluential Click To Tweet
If you can work on all of those areas, you can become confident as a runner (or in any other pursuit). Oh, and when you start to waver, remember the following (from my letter to first time full or half marathoners)
And now it is time to link up with Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner! I am also linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka for Food and Fitness Sunday.