Why You Need To Stop ‘Running Scared’

One runner realized she was 'running scared' too often.


In the middle of a race this weekend I found myself glancing down at my watch and thinking: You have no business running this pace. I was running fast for me, but I felt good; the pace felt smooth and effortless and I felt like my watch was lying to me. But when the mile clicked by I knew it wasn’t a momentary fluke. It was a fast mile. I still had four miles left in the race and part of me started to worry that I wouldn’t have anything left. Would I crash and burn because I’d just run that mile too fast?

I’ve been running hard during this marathon training cycle, working towards making the pace that I saw on my watch during the race feel easy. But when it actually happened, I had a hard time believing it. Sometimes I run scared. I creep towards my goal, as someone would walking along a ledge, hesitantly putting one foot in front of the other afraid to fall. I’m scared that if I wholeheartedly stride towards what I’ve dreamed I can do—what I’ve prepared myself to do—that I will fail.

Racing a marathon takes a healthy dose of patience, but it also requires guts. You have to be gutsy to push the pace, trusting your training to take you to the finish. You can’t run scared. You have to believe that you have all the business in the world running the paces you’ve trained to run. You have to believe you belong there.

After that fast mile, my pace slowed by a few seconds, but I didn’t crash and burn. I ran strong. I finished strong. And I know that I can finish stronger in the marathon.

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