Runner’s Biggest Fears & How to Overcome Them
Fear. A four letter by anyone’s definition. Even the strongest and most fearless of us have at least one or two lingering thoughts lurking in the back of our mind. Some fears are pretty common and easy to verbalize while others are difficult to put into words because they make us feel unique and vulnerable. And then there are those that some would consider silly (but you don’t really care because it freaks you out!) Regardless of the category it falls under, fear is real and it exists as much in our running as it does in our day to day life. How do you handle and overcome some of running’s biggest fears?
Sleeping Through an Alarm on Race Day
Probably top on any runners list, this fear has caused runners the most sleep loss. Almost every runner has a horrible night sleep before a race simply because we anticipate the alarm. There is not much you can do to turn off that anxiety but there are a few things you can do to ensure you do everything in your power to not sleep through an alarm.
Set multiple alarms. Set the alarm plugged into the wall, set two alarms on your phone, have any other person that is staying with you set their phone, use the front desk wakeup call if you are staying at a hotel or ask a running buddy that’s also running the race to start texting you and call you don’t respond. It also helps to stay at hotel the race sets as headquarters the whole place will be a buzz and it’s doubtful you’ll be able to sleep through that.
Ending Up in a Bad Situation
The majority of running is positive but unfortunately, there is another fear some runners have and that’s safety. Specifically the type of safety-related things that are not in our control such as bad or dangerous drivers, creepy people lurking or unleashed dogs.
We all watch the weather, our nutrition and hydration levels but when it comes to things out of our control we can only be prepared and hope we always come out on the good side of a bad situation. For this reason (as well as other reasons) running with a partner is a good idea. If something does go wrong, you are not alone. Carrying your phone will not only give you peace of mind but could be a lifesaver. The other thing to remind yourself of is that if you are taking all the appropriate precautions, the likelihood of something going wrong is extremely slim.
Something Embarrassing Happening
Running is a physical action. Physical actions cause other physical reactions and not all of them are situations we are aching for others to see us in. Some people have a lower tolerance for what will embarrass them than others. If you are one of these that get easily embarrassed the good news is that no matter what you are dealing with you aren’t the first person to be dealing with it and you for sure won’t be the last.
A lot of people pee during races, you will see more than one man sporting bloody nipples, and every single human has slipped, tripped or fallen at some point during their life. On top of that, any spectator probably has no clue what’s going on and is likely more in awe of the fact that you are running than they are paying attention to something you are self-conscious about.
Other runners just don’t care. They’ve been there and it’s not a big deal plus they are probably fighting their own battle at the same time and are (thankfully) too absorbed in that fight to notice if something is going on with another runner.
There are two types of running injury: ones caused by running or overuse, and the accidental injury caused by clumsiness (i.e. falling down your front stoop). Everyone is paranoid their nagging ache will become a permanent pain or the sensitive tendon will take a turn for the worse. The best way to prevent or combat overuse injuries is to make sure that you are completing preventative exercises, that you are seeing a physical therapist when needed and that you are reducing yoru mileage (or taking a break) if necessary that could ultimately help prevent a potentially long running hiatus. Listen to your body. Get the advice of trustred professionals to help keep your body performing at its peak.
There’s not much you can do about random accidents like breaking your ankle roller skating. If you have an important race coming up, the only thing you can do is think twice before you go skiing, play kickball or participate in any other recreational sports. Sitting on the sidelines of life is no fun and by no means recommended, but if you choose to enjoy these sports, know the risks and take it easy. If you are fearful it will affect your running, consider holding off until that important race has passed.
Many runners share similar fears. Talking about your fear with your running group and discussing the actual likelihood of your fear will happen is a great way to take the power out of the fear.