Resilience in Running – Why do we need it?

What is resilience and why do some people have it and some don’t? Having resilience is being able to get back up again when the most difficult and challenging life events knock us down.  

Resilience is about developing coping strategies to deal with situations and setbacks that knock us off course so that we become a mentally stronger individual.  By developing skills so that you become a mentally stronger runner you are giving yourself the best chance of being flexible in your approach to situations so that you are able to bounce back from injury, setbacks in your runs and disappointments if you do not always get a personal best.

I read recently that we have nearly 70,000 thoughts that float through our head every day, wow! If these thoughts are negative that is an awful lot of self-battering that is hard to turn around and get up from. Try to be self-aware of these thoughts when you encounter a setback, learn to reflect on why something went wrong. Did the race that you had to pull out of mean a lot to you and why did it? Try reflecting on the event so that you can learn from it, build your resilience up and move on. There will be other setbacks, running is not a linear activity, there will be highs and lows and learning to get up from the lows will make you a stronger runner both mentally and physically.

A good technique that I use if reflection; I reflect on races or a training runs that did not go too well and use the the ABC model;

Antecedant – what led up to the event? Was I tired, upset, hungry, poorly prepared

Behaviour – what were my beliefs and behaviours? Did I believe I could run well from the start? Or did self doubt creep in? Did someone say something to me that put you off kilter?

Consequences – what were the consequences of my behavior? Did I let the comment get into my head? Did the self doubt have an effect on my performance? How did I feel straight away after the race? Were these negative feelings carried over to the next run and the next race and the next one after that? 

If you can identify pressure points by using the ABC technique you can learn strategies to build up resilience and head off any disasters. By training yourself mentally as well as physically and by acknowledging setbacks you can move forward.

As you move forward you can keep reflecting

What can you~Z learn from this setback that will make you stronger? Could you share your experience with another runner to help and support them?

Talk to people, share your experiences, no one wakes up one morning and achieves their PB, everyone works hard in their training and has experienced highs and lows, maybe you think they haven’t because they make it look easy, but trust me, everyone has had bad races. Ask people about their experiences and see what strategies they used.

Practice the phrase “It will end” during a run; this mantra works whilst you are in the moment of running, but it’s only after you’ve had a few experiences of going from feeling like death to feeling great that you truly understand it so trust the process. Most of the time, the discomfort you feel never really gets any worse and discomfort is ok, pain is not and it is learning the difference between the two is key to becoming more resilient. Research shows that people who acknowledge this discomfort are able to run through the uncomfortableness.

Overall, keep running in perspective, balance the triangle of life, the physical side of running (body), the intellectual side (mind) and the spiritual and emotional side (soul).