Dealing with a setback

Setbacks are something runners have to deal with, during a training cycle for a race lots of runners face injury, illness and miss sessions for a whole host of reasons. How we respond to these can be the difference between smashing your PB and performing underneath your expectations.

In September 2019 I was having my ‘off season’ and had a serious crash while out for a ride on my bike. This resulted in concussion, multiple trips to the hospital and 4 weeks without the ability to train properly. I had a 10k in my sights in December and thought all hope was lost for a PB. Between then and the race I was ill 3 times missing more than ten planned runs. I went on to have the best race of my life bringing my PB from 35:23 to 33:09 without running more than 50km in a single week. Mindset and careful planning were key in this.

Firstly, you need to accept that no training cycle is going to go perfectly. Sessions are missed for a number of reasons and that’s ok, it happens. Missing the odd run here and there is not going to ruin your race.

Secondly, training through illness is rarely sensible and usually ends in more illness. Accepting the setback of a few days off and getting back running after a few days is worse than training through it and letting it affect your running for weeks.

Thirdly, listen to your body. I know it’s said a lot but there’s a reason for it. Learn the difference between normal training aches and an injury. If you think something is wrong then see someone who knows what they’re talking about, a physio is ideal but this can be expensive. Your GP can quite often tell you what’s wrong and give you some advice if you can’t afford to book a physio appointment.

All of these tips boil down to one thing, accept minor setbacks before they turn into a major one. Always keep a big picture in mind and remember, don’t lose 6 weeks of running for the sake of not wanting to miss 3 days.

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