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Even the best laid plans get derailed from time to time. Whether you face an injury during training, perform undesirably at a goal race or fall prey to Mother Nature (like thousands of runners did this past weekend due to the cancellation of the New York City Marathon), dealing with the occasional letdown is a necessary evil for runners. Check out these tips from Women’s Running for facing race disappointment:
1. Acknowledge your feelings. It is OK to be upset by a nagging injury or a race that could have been. Squashing your feelings will only result in residual grief. Give yourself permission to be disappointed before moving on. Recognize your reaction and then channel your energy into a positive response. Setting a new goal will invigorate your spirit once again!
2. Celebrate the positive. No matter what barrier kept you from hitting your target, chances are you achieved milestones along the way. Whether you ran farther than ever before during your training or added a new workout to your mix – try to find the bright side. Identifying the positive aspects of the experience will give you confidence as you work towards your next goal.
3. Change it up. So the race didn’t go the way you planned. It happens. Switching up your plans or setting a new goal can help you overcome the setback faster. If you were training for a long distance, try a shorter race to jumpstart your running. For road runners, think about taking a brief reprieve by tackling some trails. If your race was cancelled or travel plans got in the way, try finding a similar race as close to your target race as possible. (NYC Marathon runners might consider checking out marathons in Richmond, San Antonio, Kansas City, Mo., Seattle and Jacksonville, Fl.- all set to run by mid-December).
No matter how you choose to face race disappointment, the important thing is to remember that nothing worth having ever comes easy. Running is hard work – but the reward is oh-so worth it.