I try to find the silver lining in my bad races by learning some lessons about myself as an athlete. Since the race sucked, I may as well try to get something out of it! After finishing a whopping 2 minutes slower than my 10k personal best at USA Outdoor Nationals last month, I sat down with my journal to figure out where things went wrong. I watched replays of the race to see where the pack broke away, where my form broke down, and where my face turned to a grimace (unfortunately it was pretty early in the race!). I talked with my coach, analyzed with my brother, had a debrief with my mentor Dena – and I took their feedback, in addition to my own reflections, to figure out where the wheels came off. Through this reflection with others and through journaling, I’ve made some mental notes about mistakes I don’t want to make again.
Need a good journal to help facilitate this reflection? Check out my friend Ro’s Believe Training Journal! Can’t recommend it more :)
Your first instinct after a bad race might be to turn away and hide. But try as you might to be invisible, your race results are out there for all to see – whether you ran in a local 5k or on the big stage at a national championship. So own up to the fact that things didn’t your your way, and share it honestly with your community – be it your team, your running buddy, your family, or an online community. You’d be surprised how cathartic it can be to share about your experience – yes, you’re human, but guess what, so is everyone else, and they’ve probably (definitely) had bad races too! I’ve found that in sharing about my failures, I gain both comfort and strength in connecting with others about their similar experiences. This support is one of the things I love about the running community (on social media, on this blog, and in person) – the hugs, virtual and in real life, help me pick myself back up again! Surround yourself with good people after a bad race and you’re sure to feel better pronto!