Four Strategies For Overcoming Racing Anxiety

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Feb. 17, 2014
  • Updated Feb. 18, 2014 at 5:46 PM UTC

Learn how to get over your mental racing hurdles. 

A runner who is scared to race –sounds like an amusing anecdote one might read in a children’s book. If you’ve been in the sport long enough, however, you’ve undoubtedly had a running friend who was scared to race, or you’ve been stricken with racing anxiety yourself.

Pre-race anxiety and nerves are a normal part of training and racing. Whether it be the experienced veteran who’s nervous about running a new PR, or a marathon rookie just worried about surviving the distance, nerves add excitement to a race, which, in turn, helps add to the thrill of racing.

Unfortunately, sometimes runners can sometimes take those nerves too far and develop a paralyzing fear of racing. This might happen after a string of bad races, a long layoff due to injury, or lack of confidence in your fitness and a fear of “embarrassing” yourself. Regardless, when these fears take hold, pre-race anxiety becomes more than just nervous energy; it can derail your performances and suck all the fun out of racing.

RELATED: Four Ways To Dominate Your Next Race

If the fear of racing has stricken you or a running friend, you’re not alone. It’s a common ailment that can strike even the most confident of runners. If you’re dreading your next race or find yourself consistently underperforming because of lack of confidence, here are four surefire remedies to get you back on track.

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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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