Overcoming The Fear Of Failure When Starting To Run For The First Time. Self Doubt Is Your Enemy.
Are you scared to start running in case you plain out suck at it? Have you tried it before, but were embarrassed by all of your sweating and wheezing or your poor race times?
You’re not alone. The fear of failure can be incapacitating to begin with. But it’s something that you can overcome if you give it a little time!
You might feel that there’s no point in attempting something unless you’re excellent at it. I’ve felt this way before with regards to dieting and fitness. I’d either be on a diet and trying to get super fit, or eating junk food and doing zero exercise.
If you examine this attitude, it’s pretty fucking insane. Do you refuse to care for your garden just because you can’t create hedge people like Edward Scissorhands?
Just start by just trimming the fucking hedge!
This “all or nothing” attitude is self defeating. That’s why I fucking hate shows like “The Biggest Loser”.
They give the message that you have to be 100% dedicated to get results. Sure, it’s true that you have to at least try to manage your fitness, but you don’t have to break yourself to progress.
The old truism of “No pain – no gain” is bullshit.
“No pleasure – no gain” is a better idea.
You have to at least derive some pleasure from running to want to continue on with it.
I used to hate running, but now I love it. Especially when I annoy motorists and flip them the bird.
Creating your own definition of success.
I’ve been asked on multiple occasions why my race times are so shit, given that I run so much. The truth is that race times are only one aspect of success for me.
Having a depressive personality means that I’m prone to overeating and gaining weight. Continuing with running and enjoying the sport is my single biggest indicator of success.
I may be completely unambitious with my definition of success, but I’m only out to please myself.
To succeed I just have to keep running, enjoy my life and get a little faster each time.
Success and failure are two aspects of the same thing.
Success or failure are part of the same process. Success is not white and failure is not black. You will always be at some shade of grey. You have the power to move closer to success by understanding that setbacks aren’t the end unless you give in altogether.
If you understand why you are bad at running now, then you’re in a new position of power. You will suck less if you learn the inevitable lessons and keep trying.
Failure is not something to be feared. It’s what gives success it’s allure. In a world without failure, success would be worthless. As would joy be without despair.
It’s better to be a spectacular failure in life than to never have left your comfort zone.
Countering common negative self talk.
Here are 5 things that I used to hold true about running and how I now deal with each belief. All of these ideas have their roots in the fear of failure.
- “I’m not a runner yet” – You are a runner when you start running. You will not hit a point where you think “shit I’m a runner now!” especially if you sit on your sofa feeling sorry for yourself.
- “I don’t see the point of entering a race if I can’t run the whole distance” – There’s no shame in walking parts of a race. If it’s a toss-up between not entering a race and returning to unhealthy ways or preparing for one to the best of your ability, always take the latter option. You will always have room to improve. The slower you are, the more capacity you have for improving.
- “I don’t have the time to commit to running” – You don’t have to make a commitment to run. Any amount of running is better than doing nothing.
- “I will never be as good as the elite guys, so what’s the point?” – This may well be true, but you can start to close the gap. It might take you 6 hours to finish a marathon the first time, but with sustained effort you can easily cut an hour off that time. There’s nothing stopping you closing the gap even more. It just takes you to keep going and not losing your heart. My aim next year is to run a half marathon as fast as the elite guys run a full one. I’m loaded with the ambition!
- “I can’t run 10 meters let alone 10 miles!” – Is that true? Have you tried running 10 meters? You might surprise yourself with just how far you can go. If you can do even 50 meters today, then you have a basis to build from now. It can be brutal living up to how unfit you are now, but you’ll only ever progress by accepting how you really are.