It is natural to be upset by an underwhelming performance in a race. If running is an important part of your life then you definitely feel like you have some control over the outcome. Hence, when a race isn’t won, then the disappointment sinks in faster than it should.
Here are a few suggestions for you to cope with losing a race.
Take a break before you get back into training. do workouts you’re good at just to give you that extra boost of confidence. Increase your workouts and start running again, and once you feel like you’re ready, get into another race and nail it.
Analyze the race. Think about what went wrong, what mistakes you made, where your training was insufficient, and then visualize how you will improve this in the next race. Then take that forward into your training regimen for the next race.
Don’t wait too long before you sign up for another race/marathon. Don’t let the demotivation of the bad ace keep you down too long. Take a little time out, analyze and get back up and running. The trick is to run, and not be defeated by one or two bad races.
Manage expectations and be prepared. Know that just because you had a bad race, and trained really hard afterwards it doesn’t necessarily equate to acing the upcoming race. Running is, a long and winding learning process, and it takes years for marathoners to get to their peak running prowess. Stick with it for years, and you’d be a marathon star too. Be willing and ready to manage your expectations and ability, and if you want to increase it, put in the hours.
Be process focused rather than outcome focused. This allows you to see ups and downs as part of becoming a stronger athlete, rather than tying your self-worth to a time goal. That’s just our way of saying learn from what the key mistakes where and focus on it during training and preparation. It would also give you better clarity when training.
Besides these points, always remember that you’re a runner. You’re part of a breed that are strong, healthy and determined. That’s a win no matter where you go.