5 things to tell yourself when you feel apprehensive

I am three weeks into my 18 week marathon training program. I am preparing for the Malibu International Marathon November 11, 2012. My goal is to improve my marathon time; this distance has presented problems for me in the past. My half marathon PR is 1:40 (see here) and this was done on a trail and my marathon PR is a 3:53 (see here)

According to the McMillan running pace chart I should be running around a 3:30 marathon. I have done this in training but never have achieved this in a race.

I have learned so much about running marathons. First, that no two are alike and anything can happen in those 26.2 miles. So this time around I have a new nutrition and hydration plan, and have also made the big decision to try a new training plan. In the past I have always run high miles with two big workouts a week, one track and one long run. Since I have always used their pace charts to plan my races, I made the choice to use the McMillan Runnings 18 week marathon Training plan.

New, new, new, new, everything is so new. I just moved across the country (see here) and now a new marathon plan. I am feeling extra sensitive about all of the change. After all, I think many of us get so much comfort from our routines and knowing what will happen next. I am reviewing my miles and I find myself fighting feelings of fear and doubting this method. This plan has me doing much slower paces than I am used to for certain workouts, mixed with two VERY challenging workouts where the paces are very difficult to hit. To top it off, my overall mileage is much less than I am used to seeing. This combination has me a little freaked out.

So, as I struggled to slow myself to a true recovery pace this morning I thought “I need to trust – trust myself, my training, my body, my ability as a runner, and this new plan. If this program has any chance of working I must be willing to surrender to it and give it a chance. McMillan is an experienced coach who has guided many runners over the years, who am I to question this? I also reminded myself it is completely natural to doubt. Circumstances arise in your life and in your training that cause you to question. I came home and came up with five things to say to myself when the apprehension creeps in.

1. When you look down you fall down – When I was in my 20’s I was racing mountain bikes in Colorado, and after I went head over butt down a huge gully my riding partner yelled to me, “When you look down, you fall down!”. I never forgot that because this same rule applies to life. When you look down or are negative about something, then it most likely won’t work.

2. I am meant to be here – We are all exactly where we are meant to be at this moment in our lives. The challenges that we have are lessons presented to us because we need to learn something about ourselves. This training plan may not work or I may knock this PR out of the park. I don’t know what will happen, but I know I will learn something and I am grateful for whatever that may be. Accept the outcome, whatever it is.

3. When you doubt yourself, others will too – Recently I was watching the Olympics and an interviewer asked the men’s beach volleyball team if they should be feared. They answered “Yes, absolutely”. If they were nervous, which I am sure they had their moments, they did not show it. That has to get into the heads of their competition. If you expel credible confidence and you truly believe in yourself, others will too. Having a tribe of people behind you who support you goes along way in achieving your goals.

4. New experiences give you more insight – – Knowledge is power, plain and simple. The more experiences you have, good and bad, the greater your perspective will be. Don’t be afraid to try new things!

5. Remind yourself that what you want is right around the corner – Dreams don’t happen overnight. Anything good takes time. You have to commit yourself to your goals and accept that it won’t happen overnight, and sometimes it takes changing things up before you get it right. To keep myself going day after day I like to invision that my PR is just around the corner and that I only need to patiently keep chipping away at my training. I imagine the feeling of crossing the finish line.

So I ask you… what is something that makes you doubt?

What do you do or tell yourself to knock out doubt?

m4s0n501
About Lisa

Mother of three children under 9, including a set of twins, and wife of US Navy Diver. I love to run, write, and laugh. Yes, I have a slightly raunchy and dark sense of humor..life can be so funny.. it's how I deal with it all.

Comments

  1. Sarah @momrunningonempty.com says:

    This post was exactly what I needed to read before my
    Long run tomorrow. I’ve been struggling with self doubt before my distance runs lately and this game me that extra push and a reminder to be in my moment and to trust myself and my training to get me where I need to be!

    Thank you :-)

    • Sarah, Im so glad.. thank you! My difficult workouts quite often scare me. I think that is a good reminder that you are doing it right. Sending you good vibes for your run tomorrow, you got this! Thank you for your comment.

  2. Im simple.
    basic.
    a mantra of I GOT THIS :-) I GOT THIS I GOT THIS.

  3. Great post! Too many times to count self doubt has been my downfall. I’m training to run a sub 2:00 half mary and in working with a running coach I have made more changes to my training than ever before. Slower paces and less mileage kind of freaked me out. A little, no I mean, a lot of self talk works wonders with the doubt.

    Good luck with training!

  4. I needed this post right now! Thank you so much! I’m doubting my body right now since I’ve been having a knee issue training for my marathon. If I take time off will I still be able to do it? Is this my body telling me to not even think about running a marathon?

    Again, this is all a reminder that running isn’t just physical it’s at least 50% mental!

    Good luck with your training! :)

    • Angela, Oh how I have been in your shoes before. I know exactly what you are thinking. Running and LIFE is 50% mental, yes? haha! Hope your knee heals warp speed and you are up and “running” soon. xoxo

  5. No matter what your fitness goal is, this is a fantastic list. I especially love (and needed to hear) Number 4. I want to come across as confident and capable, but if that’s not what I feel about my ability, people see right through me. And yes, we must remember that dreams are things we work toward and don’t happen over night. It takes time and it’s all worth it when we reach it! Keep striving toward the prize!

  6. yes yes yes, i totally agree! I do the same. I doubt myself when i start questioning. Therefore, never question, just go with your gut!

  7. I love this post and your 5 “things”. I definitely get in my own way with self-doubt.

  8. Great post (as usual!) I JUST took a nasty spill on my bike last week when I briefly looked down to wipe away water from a large puddle. I am still nursing my wounds. This post hits home for me in so many ways. Miss seeing your beautiful face. Hope you are enjoying Cali!

  9. I doubt myself all of the time because my workout friends are all faster than I am. I just keep telling myself that I may never catch them, and that’s ok as I long as I can see them when I run…. That means I am keeping up :) And improving along with them!

  10. Theresed says:

    I so agree with Sarah. This post is just what I needed. I also find myself doubting myself te day before my long run. I worry that this round of marathon training will cause past injuries to flare up. So much so that I am cautious about pushing myself with speed workouts because I may re-injure myself.

    I need to believe more in myself and stop the doubting.

    Thanks for another great posting.

  11. I’m impressed that you’re trying a new training plan! Good for you. It’s amazing how many options there are and how different they can all be, but slow long runs combined with some fast, hard runs sounds smart.
    Excellent post and pointers. I especially like the final point, that it takes time, and we have to trust the process.

  12. wow really great insights!! I am also trying a new training plan and know that we will likely be moving right in the middle. My goal is simply to embrace it all and try my best…I hope to see that by doing something different I grow and maybe hit that PR!

  13. What an important post! So many things to take from it. Thank you :)

  14. LOVE. THIS. POST. I especially love #1, because you’re absolutely right. The moment I find myself looking down, being negative…I fall. And it’s never a pretty fall. Always stare your goals right in the face.

  15. Oh Lisa. I love this post. I think that I might need to print this out. There’s so much doubt, particularly about my knee. I mean I’m recovering fine but it doesn’t feel the same. I know that I have a long way to go but there are definitely times when I want to curl up and pout and think that it’s never going to get better and that I’ll never run or surf or whatever again. But I know that I need to take my time and I remind myself to keep taking it one day at a time. When I start thinking about the big picture too much, it starts to get overwhelming so I focus on the day to day.

    I admire you and all that incredible changes that you have been through in such a short period of time.

  16. Love, love, love this post. And the pics make it even better! We can learn so much from the Olympians. Before Joshua’s swim meets I’ve been telling him, “You’re so ready for this!” “You’re gonna kill it!” Self-belief is soooo important!

    • I would have been an Olympian had you been my Mother. You are such an incredible Momma. Those boys are so blessed.

  17. Good luck with your marathon training. I use Hal HIgdon’s training and really like it. I wish you would run the Winglass Marathon with me. It’s a slightly downhill, super fast marathon in upstate NY.

  18. MR DETERMINED says:

    Thanks for the positive post. I’m in this transition in my life (for the better) but I’ve been losing faith lately that I’m on the right path. Today after much thought I decided I’m going to trust my instincts that things will be great in a month from now. I’ve learned to always rely on your instincts, they know best.

  19. Thank you, Lisa. I will now say and think about the 5 things you talked about in the article. But I will add one more: ” Lisa you are a special rare bird “. I am reading a book called Rare Birds and one of the characters in the book is this awesome, unique, lady played by Molly Parker. She reminds me of you.

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