Ever since my last marathon as I work my way back into some sort of training schedule I’ve been dealing with some nagging self-doubt.
I don’t wake up every morning saying “you can’t do this” but going into my workouts I doubt that I even have a chance of hitting the required paces or miles. The question is, why?
I wish I had a simple answer to this. I would love to fix it but my best guess is because my body isn’t quite ready and some demons from my last marathon training cycle.
My training cycle was strong but I was dealing with the ramifications of mistakes made in my off season. I was mentally burnt out which is not good when your required to really push yourself during training. Marathon training is a lot of fun, but it also can be quite exhausting not only physically but mentally as well.
Here is what I’ve been focusing on to help overcome my self-doubt:
Relax and LISTEN to Your Body
We hear all the time listen to your body but what does that really mean? Your body sends cues to you all the time on what it needs. It needs water, food, rest, etc.
I did not listen to my body last off season. I wanted to improve so badly that I pushed myself too hard. Even after all the signs were there that my body needed a break. Once it can’t take it anymore, you begin to shut down. Burnout is not a fun thing. It’s beyond frustrating to want to go but you just can’t.
I’ve been really focusing on relaxing and letting my body tell me when it’s ready to get back into hard training. I’ve been adding in workouts as I feel like it but if my body says no then I listen. That’s the beauty of the off season.
Look Back at How Far You’ve Come
We often get so focused on improving that we really forget how far we’ve come. No matter your goals, sometimes you just have to slow down and look at what you’ve done.
We can all do hard things but we often don’t even let ourselves enjoy one accomplishment at a time.
I was a bit disappointed after Chicago and I immediately went to think about how I was going to fix things in this off season. I never really enjoyed my accomplishment of a PR. It may not have been the goal I was going for, but a 4 minute PR is something to be celebrated. ANY PR is something to be celebrated!
Celebrating and focusing on your accomplishments makes you realize just how strong you can be.
One Day at a Time
I think one of the biggest culprits of self-doubt is looking too far ahead. It’s just like when I start a marathon training program saying: “how will I ever be able to run 26.2 miles at THAT pace?” Yet, after working hard and sticking to my training most of the time I can do it or come close.
My training has changed a lot since I began focusing on one day at a time. I don’t think about the weekend’s long run, or next Thursday’s workout; I simply focus on the run I have that day.
Ask yourself: WILL I?
When you find yourself questioning your ability to do a run, hit a pace, or run a certain number of miles ask yourself “why can’t I?”
Most of the time I find myself questioning myself for no real reason. It’s almost as if I am trying to make an excuse. It’s not always about asking yourself “CAN I” it’s about “WILL I.”
It doesn’t mean you are going to hit every single workout, but instead based on if you will give 100% effort. I will give it my all, I will work my hardest, and I will be proud of my effort.
I promise you, it doesn’t feel good to finish a workout knowing that you could have given more.
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Don’t Listen to Others
Those around you will either be supportive of your goals or think you are crazy. Trust me, I was told many times I was crazy for wanting to cut an hour of my marathon time when I went for it in Kiawah. There was a while where I let it get to me and though maybe they were right.
There are always going to be people that don’t agree with your or think you’re crazy, and that’s okay. You have to believe in yourself, no one else is going to do that for you.
Big goals require big belief. Some days you’ll have more than others, but at the end of the day you are the only one who can push past your self doubt.
Do you ever have periods where you doubt yourself more than others?