Even if you’re used to running, the idea of going for a really long distance can make anyone nervous. It’s not just about the physical effort, but also about the mental challenge. When you’re out there for an extended period, it’s like you’re facing all your doubts and uncertainties head-on. That feeling of your heart racing, not knowing if you can keep going, and dealing with your own thoughts can be a bit scary. But the cool thing is, by pushing through that fear, you can discover a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of accomplishing.

For today’s newsletter, Coach Sandi Nypaver takes us through some of her top mindset tips she uses herself, as well as what she tells her athletes:

“It’s common to feel a bit nervous before tackling those long workouts, especially when speed is involved.

As a coach, I’ve noticed that fear often creeps in when we start thinking about things beyond our control or focus on the potential pain. So, let’s chat about some mental strategies to help you conquer those worries and excel during your runs —

1. Shift Your Focus: Instead of dwelling on the negatives, redirect your thoughts to the positive aspects of the workout. Remind yourself that this type of training is crucial for reaching your goals, both physically and mentally. Embrace the opportunity to grow stronger through the challenge. This is a lot easier said than done, but practicing visualization with a positive outcome can have a dramatic impact on the end result. The science on this even tells us so! Top endurance athletes around the world use visualization as a core component of their mental preparation. We could have a whole newsletter topic on this in the future, but for now, we encourage to you to give it a try.

2. Confidence is Key: These lengthy sessions require mental resilience. Believe in your capacity to stay strong throughout the run. Cultivating confidence is a gradual process, but trusting in your abilities can make a world of difference.

3. Embrace Feeling Strong: It’s easy to anticipate discomfort but remember that you can also feel powerful during the run. Don’t fixate on potential pain; focus on the satisfaction of pushing through and achieving greatness.

4. Failure is Not the End: Understand that unsuccessful workouts are part of the journey. They indicate that you’re pushing boundaries and striving for improvement. Learn from these experiences, adapt, and move forward with a positive mindset. In other words, failing is expected, and if you’re not failing, you’re probably not trying very hard or you’re not just setting big enough goals. So, failing a workout? No big deal in my book.

It’s going to happen when you’re trying to perform at your best, and so when a bad workout happens, think about why it didn’t go well.

For example: Did you not drink enough during your long run? Did you miss your goal of consuming X number of gels? These are the types of things to reflect on, so that next time, you can improve 🚀

5. Analyze and Adjust: This kind of goes along with our last point and examples. When a workout doesn’t go as planned, take a moment to reflect. Was fatigue a factor? Did you doubt your abilities beforehand? Use these insights to fine-tune your approach and grow from each setback.

6. Embrace the Journey: Running has its ups and downs, just like life. Don’t let occasional setbacks deter you. Instead, approach each run as a unique chance to learn, grow, and prepare for future successes.

As we’ve journeyed through this past year together, it’s clear that running can be a rollercoaster. Remember, setbacks are temporary, and breakthroughs await. Recently, I had a great run myself, which was partly due to my mindset. I approached it with the intent to do my best and recognized its potential impact on my upcoming races.

Stay motivated and keep chasing those goals!”