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Change Your Mindset To Improve Race Times

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Dec. 3, 2013
  • Updated Dec. 3, 2013 at 2:57 PM UTC
One way to build speed is to run with people faster than you. Photo: www.shutterstock.com


Be mindful of the deceptive paralysis that can take hold when you become intimidated by your increasingly faster paces.

Rapidly improving and making huge gains in training and fitness is the daydream almost every runner has on those perfect, effortless runs. While most runners understand that reaching their ultimate potential takes time, lots of miles, and a sprinkle of patience, many don’t realize there is an underlying mental chasm that must also be crossed when making big improvements in their race times.

It may seem ironic that the very daydream that consumes your thoughts during those endless miles might actually be the hindrance that prevents you from taking the next step in your training and racing. However, when runners begin to improve rapidly, it’s often the fear of what were previously considered daunting paces or inconceivable goals that holds them back; it’s intimidating to believe that you can run a marathon 20 seconds per mile faster than what you considered your 10K pace not all that long ago.

Succumbing to the awe of faster paces and how unbelievable it can seem to run that fast is often what leads to racing plateaus and time barriers that runners can never quite get past. Being aware of this phenomenon, understanding that other runners go through it as well, and implementing specific strategies to get over the mental hurdle is critical if you want to take your race times to the next level.

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Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

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