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9457 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Jun 13, 2011 4:51 PM by lschwenks 1 2 Previous Next
GeorgiaJules Amateur 9 posts since
Jan 22, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 7, 2011 7:05 AM

Need mental help for running.

ran 1st 5k but was blown away by other runners(bad experience), since then unable to complete my runs...Mentally thinking I can't do this. Haven't been able to do much distance w/o giving up. (only 15-20mins of running).  Had already signed up for another 5k this Saturday, am I physically ready? or is this all mental mind games.  Was doing well until "blown away". Have 4 days to convince myself to try another 5k. Suggestions?


  • LPARafael Pro 166 posts since
    Sep 13, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 7, 2011 7:31 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    Hang in there.  I remember my first ever 5K which I walked the entire distance.  The race was partnered up with a half marathon, sharing the same finish line.  The half started and the 5K was supposed to start 15 minutes later but it did not until about 25 minutes after.  I was hoping to finish the 5K before the first half marathoner finished.  I did my 5K in 41 minutes but about 200 yards from the finish the first half marathon runner streaked by me like he had jets on.  That blew me away but it gave me some motivation to start running a little instead of walking the 5K.  I ran a little more each time and pretty soon I completed a few 5Ks.  I will never finish anywhere near the top, not even in my age group, so I just make sure that I am having fun and enjoying running.  You can compare your time with your past races' times.  But don't let others' abilities turn you off running.  Who knows you may have been unlucky that some of the fastest people around were in the same race as you in the 5K.  The next race may be filled with lots of walkers and you will impress them with how fast you are going.  It's your journey and it's okay to be not the fastest runner around.  Make sure you do whatever you can to enjoy it, that's all.  Maybe you can convince a relative or friend to join you in running.

    To paraphrase Newton, "A body in motion tends to stay in motion", so keep those feet moving ....

    2012 Races

    Year 2 Year 5K - 12/31 - 1/1

    Tinkerbell Half Marathon - 1/29

    Rock n Roll Pasadena Half marathon - 2/19

    Old Agoura 10K - 3/24

    O2O Half Marathon - 6/3

    City Impact Half Marathon - 6/16

    Channel Islands 10K - 7/4

    Disneyland Half - 9/2

    Marine Corps Marathon - 10/28

  • Raserei Amateur 13 posts since
    May 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 7, 2011 7:59 AM (in response to LPARafael)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    My first 5K was partnered with a Marathon. If I could do it over again, I may have stuck to 5Ks which were advertised as walk/runs for mental health I don't think there was a true "walker" in the group that day. But, I got my first time, and knew I only had to work on besting that by whatever margin I could muster. Have that in mind first. You are only out there to beat you right now. Maybe your first was a fluke, because the environments I've been in for 5Ks have been very encouraging. Best of luck!

    Raserei - 5K Runner, Agility Dog Handler

    05/15/11 - Bob Potts 5K (first race ever) - 39.46

    06/04/11 - Hope for Cope 5K - 36.11

    07/09/11 - Habitat for Humanity 5K -

    07/30/11 - Sunset Stretch 5K -

    08/20/11 - Run for the Park CC Challenge 5K -

  • M.J. in Springpatch Pro 154 posts since
    Mar 17, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 7, 2011 9:45 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    I just posted about my similar feelings in another thread.  The only thing I can tell you is to get a handle on those negative feelings or else they will suck the joy of running right out of you.  I had finally gotten to the place where I actually enjoy running, but obsessing over my speed (or lack thereof) was starting to make running into a chore or something to be overcome, rather than the joyful, liberating thing it was becoming to me.  So I've decided to nip it in the bud.  I have cobbled together a program for myself that hopefully will help with my time, but still allow me to just enjoy running.  I would hate for my own mental crap to defeat something so good for me. 


    All that to say:  I understand how you feel; don't have any real answers, but am fighting the same battle.


    Hope you can find a way to fight through this.

    As Stuart always says: Run Happy!

    Started C25K: 3/13/11 Completed C25K: 5/12/11

    FatAss 5K: 5/14/11

    New Balance Girls on the Run Community 5K: 5/21/11

    5th Annual MMC Burn Center 5K Run/Walk: 6/4/11

    Women's Distance Festival 2-Miler: 7/9/11

    Scheel's Inaugural 5K Run/Walk: 7/16/11

    Red Ribbon 5-Mile Run: 10/22/11

  • madams1975 Amateur 8 posts since
    Jul 13, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 7, 2011 10:24 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    You definitely can do it. What we all eventually learn is that you are not competing against everyone else, but rather you are competing against yourself. The only one really "blowing you away" is you. My first 5k I was so excited for, got halfway through and cramped out and had to walk out and was pretty discouraged. But thats really how you learn. I learned how to pace myself in races and not worry about everyone else. Everybody there is on their own journey working on their own goals. Don't let what you think about yourself in comparison to others get in the way of what you set out to do. You definitely can do the 5k this weekend. Whats the worse that could happen? You only have yourself to impress. And maybe for you just dusting yourself off and giving it another go is the only goal you need to set for yourself right now.

  • snortman Pro 69 posts since
    May 22, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 7, 2011 10:42 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.



    Don't focus on how well (or fast) everyone else is running, just focus on pacing yourself and completing the race. You're not out there to please anyone else. Just have fun. Go check out the Penguins thread in the Newbies Cafe subforum of Running. They are slow and proud of it! Here's hoping you do well and have fun on this Saturday's event. Finish the race!



  • KILOWATTGOLD Amateur 22 posts since
    Feb 3, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jun 7, 2011 10:43 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    I know exactly how you feel.  My first 5k after finishing the C25K program was May 30.  I knew i could run 2.5 miles or close to it, and I knew about what time frame I was doing it in.   I started in the back with the walkers and did not have a mass of people to fight through.  They all spread out very quickly. At the first mile it showed a time of 16 something...about right on track since I had crossed the start line a minute or so after the faster runners.   The second mile was 32 something...and again I felt like I was right on target.  Then it gets weird.  I knew I was tiring out and was determined to finish the whole thing running no matter what.  As we came around towards the finish a friend of mine that ran it and finished it in about 30 minutes was waiting for me, so I knew I was pretty close.  At that point I just went all out and ran as fast as I could go towards the finish.   I crossed the finish at 50 something...2 minutes slower per mile than my first two miles...and that was after turning on the afterburners.   Official Net time was 49:25.   So, I am either the slowest runner EVER, or I tried too hard to pace myself and didn't cover enough ground before I ran out of gas.  Like you, since then I've had a rough time.   I have gone out 3 times since then, twice with a neighbor who wants to start the C25K and once on my own.  The two times with a neighbor we walked and ran the beginning of the C25K and I felt great during the runs.  Then Saturday I set out on my own to do B210K to work on my distance.  It was hot and well into the 80's at 8am.  I ran for 10 minutes, walked a minute, ran for about 5 more minutes, then struggled to walk and jog home.  I'm not sure where to go, or what to do to try to be better for the next 5K I signed up for in September.  I know I have plenty of time to train, but it is almost as if I reached a goal and was so awful at it that I can't find that motivation, desire and love of running I had before the race.   I KNOW I only need to compete with myself, and I'm sure you know that too, but I read of others that are running so much further after the same amount of time and my body doesn't even want to go back to the original 30 minutes.  I hear people talke about going out for an "easy" 3 mile, 4 mile, 5 mile run....3.1 miles took me nearly and hour and it was NOT easy.   IT was 100% mental determination that made me run the whole way.  I don't want to "win" anything, but I'd like to be able to go do an "easy" 5K.   How do you get re-motivated to push further again....or are some of us "one hit wonders"...or are we just not pushing ourselves the way were were in the beginning?


    Graduated C25K 5/12/11

    Finished Races:

    23rd Annual Memorial Day Classic at Weston (5K) 5/30/11 49:25

    Doral Business Run (5K) 6/24/11 45:20

    5th Annual King of the Hill Challenge (5K) 9/3/11 49:34

    UPS 5K 9/17/11 47:30

    13th Annual Miramar-Pines Rotary Run (5K) 1/14/12 48:34

  • PaintingLady Legend 906 posts since
    Dec 12, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jun 7, 2011 11:34 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    Hi Georgia, yes you can do this running thing.  What training have you done?  Did you complete the C25K or similar program?

    Running is hugely mental.  I'm far from being an accomplished runner, but have learned a few things about myself along the way.  I bet you are very much like me. We all have those times where we want to quit, but we have to dig deep to find that intestinal fortitude to go on.

    Take it slow and easy.  Tell yourself that finishing is victory.  You are only running for yourself and against yourself.  So this next race,set you goal to finish.  It doesn't matter what the time is. That will be you PR....personal record.  When you want to quit, talk to yourself...."Georgia, you can make it to the next tree, mailbox, minute, etc.  Once you get there, pick another marker to shoot for.  Before you know it, you will have finished your quest. Reward yourself when you finish that 5K..... a cold bottle of water, a new shirt, a hot bath, what ever works for you.

    Read John Bingham's book(s). Most librarys have them or can get them. He will tell you that it's not about how fast, or even how far, it is about just doing it.


    I recently ran in the race where one of the runners was a 92 year old man on a walker.  He beat a bunch of others.  So how did those ppl feel?  I bet they were proud that they finished!!  I talked with him and his words of wisdom to me were to keep on running.

    The most important part of conditioning is consistancy.  Run/walk at least 3 days per week. Try to never miss more than 2 days in a row.  Somedays are harder than others, but just do it.


    When I began c25k, the first 90 second run felt like forever.  The first 5 minute run was eternity.  When I saw 20 minutes on the schedule, I had a heart attack , but I (like legions of others) went out and did it and survived to celebrate.  The day I finished the c25k program was a celebration.  It didn't matter that I couldn't run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes at the time (still don't on a regular training basis).  At that point 3 miles was not easy, but with consistant training, it has become so.  Now, I look forward to when 5 miles will be "easy". It will, I just have to train and it will, I'm almost there...and then the goal will be for a 10 mile run to be "easy".  Given time and training, it is possible. It doesn't happen overnight.


    Determine what your goal it to complete a 5K?  Then make a list of why it is important to you to accomplish that goal.  Visualize yourself crossing that finish line and how you will feel when you do.

    Don't beat yourself up for the past.  Look forward to the future.  You can do it and I look forward to hearing all about it!

    Marie from Tennessee

    Training for Disney 2013 Goofy Challenge.....Yes, I'm certifiably CRAZY!

    61 year olds must be out of their minds to run a half marathon followed by a full the next day!

    Disney Half Marathon 1/7/2012 2:37:59

    Bear Hunt 5K 9/24/11 28:28 pb

    Trojan Trek Trail 5K 8/6/11 31:45

    Expo 10K 5/28/11 1:01:28,

    Expo 10K 5/26/12 1:05:39

    Eastman 10K 9/8/2012 1:01:11 pb

    "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

  • KathleenMcGrath Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 14, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jun 9, 2011 10:05 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    Tough spot to be in - I was in a similar spot earlier this week but with swimming, prep for my first triathlon.  Confident before my first open water swim, bombed it, couldn't even swim regular laps in the pool the next time I tried, ended up sobbing in the showers after 20 minutes of frustrated demoralized pool swimming.  Two suggestions from that: 1) when you run, focus on breathing, slow steady, relaxed breathing, with positive thoughts "My breathing is slow and easy and I'm calm" or soemthing like that, whatever is reassuring and positive to you.  The first half mile will be hard as it always is, warming up, but then you should get in a groove (if you're fit enough to do 5k), and focusing on breathing will steady you and take your mind off your anxiety, 2) put on an mp3 player with your favorite rockin' music, and concentrate on singing (in your head), to that.


    I agree with the others, and it's the advice I got - keep trying, don't get down on yourself, and it'll get better.  Maybe quickly :-)  These sports are largely mental, and learning your mind is part of the challenge.  Embrace it!  Good luck!

  • lschwenks Rookie 4 posts since
    May 8, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jun 9, 2011 4:11 PM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    Georgia - It breaks my heart to hear a runner that's discouraged because there are so many physical and mental rewards from running. Please don't give up on running becasue of a bad experience.  Maybe you were blown away because some runners were going for a PR.  Don't let someone else's good day discourage you.  You were off the couch and you finished a race, that's a good day of running!  Judge your performance based on your abilities and your goals, not how someone else performed.  Tweak your training from your results not someone else's.  From my experience, I have found runners to be a faithful group that will encourage complete strangers with a thumbs up or a "looking good".  I have never been critical of any other runners and will turn around after I finish a race and encourage everyone coming in after me (trust me, many more have already finished ahead of me).  We all have been new runners at one point or another and have gone through this stage of our running career.  Run that next race and finish with your head up, because that's a good day of running!  Good luck in your race and let us know how you did.  We're cheering for you!

    Some people run to get in shape...we get in shape to run! - Paavo Nurmi

    7/10/10 - Completed C25K

    7/15/10 - Wheels & Heels 5K, Milwaukee, WI - 31:22

    9/17/10 - Nancy's Run Rock 'n Stroll 5K, West Allis WI - 28:07

    11/20/10 - Clear Water Outdoos Turkey Trot 10K - 57:07

    5/7/11 - Wisconsin Half Marathon - 2:16:50

    5/29/11 - Madison Half Marathon - 2:17:09

  • walkerof3 Rookie 6 posts since
    Jun 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jun 9, 2011 4:51 PM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    We all struggle at times.  We need to keep a balanced perspective and ask why do I run?  I recommend to fantastic book about running.  The first one is Jog For Your Life by Haydn Gilmore.  The second book is George Sheehan on Running.  Both books can be ordered on either or Barnes and Noble because they are out of print.  These are just so inspiring and informative beyond belief.  I lost 58 pounds last year and just began running again on Feb. 9th.  That was a gap from Nov. 19, 2009 until then.  I did not run a step last year in 2010 as I lost the weight.  I ran in 2 local races here in southeast Iowa. The Race for the Cure for Diabetes where I ran 26:43 (8:56 per mile).  Then I ran in the 16th Annual Great River Bridge Run 6 Mile run.  My goal was 60:00 minutes and I ran it in 56:01.  I was ecstatic as I averaged 9:21 per mile as I was up to just 4 miles a day.  I don't really train, but am gradually getting a bit faster.  There is another local YMCA 5K out in the park here on June 18th.  My goal is 26:45 and the other 2 races were hilly and this one is a flat route.  Hang in there.  Have fun.  Relax.  I have not run this well in 25 years.  I don't have the speed I used to, but the time gap is like my body has woke back up like Rip Van Winkle.  When I was younger and faster, I could do 6:45 - 6:30 per mile but hardly ever placed in my age group. I dreaded races. Now I look forward to them. My whole perspective is way different.  I turn 60 on July 16th and feel 30-40 years old.  Keep plugging away and just have fun.

    Run with patience the race set b4 us
  • waxgirl333 Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jun 9, 2011 5:37 PM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    OMG I wish you lived in Minnesota so we could run together! My first 5K was a month ago and I have to tell you I was so sad when everyone blew past me too. My legs got really was bizarre. But then I'd only run that far twice before and never in a race. I kept telling myself all the things that were huge accomplishments for me...that I ran the whole thing, that I started running at 49, etc. I just did my second 5K last week and people blew past me too..but I caught a few of them and passed them this time. So it gets better really fast, is what I'm learning, as long as I run my own race and don't compare myself to anyone else. I also remind myself that I can walk part of the way if I need to, and that always helps. Your post reminded me of that old Henry Ford quote "Whether you think you can or you think you can''re right"

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jun 9, 2011 5:56 PM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    I'm curious what you mean by ". . . blown away by other runners(bad experience) . . .".  Maybe you just started out too fast, then ended up slowing and getting passed by a lot of runners.  We've all done that.  Whatever happened, you have to add it to your experiences and learn from it.


    It's clear that you can do this, because you already have.  And you can do it again this weekend.  Definitely it is partly a mental game.  You worked hard to get your body ready.  Sometimes convincing your mind that it's ready is harder.  Remember you're doing this for yourself, for the feeling of accomplishment at completing the race.  You're not doing it for everybody else in the race.  I've had this feeling sometimes myself the last couple races, usually about halfway through, where I doubt myself.  For me, I realize that even though I'm slower (happens as you get up in age), I still want to run, and race, and try to improve.  Improvement becomes a relative thing.  At the last race I ran, a 10-miler, they were making a big deal about a 70-something guy who ran the accompanying 5K.  That's great, I thought, but when I'm that age (8 years away) I want to still be running the 10-mile.


    Keep on running.




  • everjewel Amateur 37 posts since
    Sep 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Jun 9, 2011 8:28 PM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    I've been running for about a year now, and I still struggle with my own doubts and negative thoughts. I had a great first race experience, finishing better than expected. But then going into my second race, I started really bumming myself out, thinking there was no way I could beat my first race time, and the thought of doing worse made me not want to run it at all. So I started telling myself that time was not important. "My goal is to finish," became my mantra. Even though I had told myself that my time didn't matter, I wore my watch on race day, but a quarter mile into the race, I glanced down to see that my watch hadn't started when I thought I hit the button! So now I was really without the pressure of the clock, and I ran totally by feel, repeating, "My goal is to finish." Lo and behold, I DID finish, and at the finish line, my daughter ran up along side me yelling, "You beat your old time! You beat your old time!" I had shaved a minute off my first race time! The moral of the story? Run your next race! Your goal is to finish!!!


    Another mantra that works for me when I don't feel like running is, "You only regret the runs you don't make." So true.


    Finally, if you want some instant positive running vibes, go read the posts under the thread, "What was the nicest thing somebody said to you when you first started running?" (title is something like that). Talk about some feel-good stories to make you want to keep running!!

  • virtue4u Rookie 4 posts since
    Nov 2, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Jun 10, 2011 3:29 AM (in response to GeorgiaJules)
    Re: Need mental help for running.

    This is an interesting topic for me recently and would love to hear reports about people who felt like they did not want to run a race when they got up, only to set a PR.  That happened to me twice last week.  I did not want to do a training run, but after 0.1 mile I felt better and set a training PR.  That weekend I did not want to run a 5k race but thought it would at least be a good exercise run.  I broke a PR that has eluded me for 6 months.

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