Dealing with Setbacks

// By Hayden Shearman //

In the space of 14 days I’ve lost four days out with a cold and two (so far) with a tweaked neck. Super frustrating! But, as runners, it can be easy to get down about these setbacks. So how can we deal with them when they do come along?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Expect them! The road to success is NEVER a straight line. There are always bumps and obstacles and unforeseen challenges that crop up. So, the best way to begin preparing for them is to expect them—not to hunt them out, but not to be surprised or overly dismayed when they do arrive. We all get them!
  2. Look for silver-linings. Every obstacle in your running goals presents an opportunity. Injured? Spend more time cross training and strengthening. Sick? Catch up on sleep and rest. Swamped with work and life? Dial in good nutrition to get you through it. Look for the opportunities that are presented in any setback.
  3. Don’t play catch up. The temptation when you miss a few days of running is to cram that missed mileage into your first few days back running. Avoid this like the plague! Instead just ease back into your training and, once you’re feeling back to normal fitness, pick up where you left off.
  4. Is it a warning sign? Often when we get injured or sick it’s our bodies’ way of saying “that is too much, I need a rest!” Listen to these signs and adapt your training plan going forward to work within those parameters.
  5. Programme in setbacks. Rather than just waiting for your body to hit the wall and get injured or sick, schedule in periods of reduced training. Every 3-4 weeks do a drop back week. And several times per year do a month of reduced training or switch your focus to another sport or pastime.