Yesterday my wife completed her first marathon, but before the race she started doubting herself when she already put in the right training. This typical for anyone who is nervous about their first marathon and I have seen it affect runner’s performance negatively. I was glad to be there for her. I didn’t let her think about what could happen and start overthinking about running a marathon. I let her know what she needed to do, she found a pace group to run with and she reach her goal with a smile with her face.
Overthinking is a mental aspect of competition that can negatively affect the competitor’s performance. In regards to running, overthinking is simply as its name implies – the runner starts thinking too much about race related activities. This relatively common lapse in mental toughness can lead to worrying, self-doubt and ultimately a poor race performance. I see overthinking happen the most when runners have a lack of confidence in their training which, in turn, leads to worry that conveniently sets in on race day morning. The best way to counteract this mental deficit is to run smart and relaxed, believe in yourself and trust your training program. As a last resort, if there has been a lack of training, then the race can become a training run where random volunteers give you water along the way and you get a medal at the end! Mentally, it is important to remember why you run…don’t sweat over a race too much. Of course, like most difficult and mentally trying activities, it is easier said than done 😉