Stop Stress, Nerves, and Anxiety From Ruining Your Running and Races

Santa rocked my runner socks off. 😉 If you’re following me on Instagram you probably already saw my awesome new purple Garmin…wooohooo!! My old Garmin actually broke a week before Christmas in what I can only call the sum of all fears for a runner: I had no warning, I was in the middle of a run, I was in the first mile of a tempo.
new garmin 220
Needless to say I was P*$$ed!! Hello, this OCD runnerchick would have liked to know her splits. Alas, alas…I did survive which does remind us all of two important lessons:

1) It’s in the Effort: Yea, I had no idea what my miles ended up being but I still ran hard. Times and splits are helpful information when it comes to workouts, but they don’t always tell the full story. Bottom line is it all comes back to the effort.
2) Times NOT to Time: While I certainly hadn’t planned on my Garmin crapping out, I have talked before about times when it’s better NOT to run with a watch. Easy days are meant to be easy and running ‘naked’ on those days can help keep them as such, not worrying about pace. Sometimes runners can get too stressed about their hard workouts, getting too anxious about time times, if they aren’t hitting the splits, etc. If you’re started to dread your hard workouts because of the stress, running without a watch is an easy way to unload a ton of self-imposed stress. Run hard. Scr*w times. Again, it’s coming back to effort.

Sometimes running without a watch can be freeing.

But back to my story, I DID want the watch…haha. So I was peeved when it died and was crossing all my fingers and toes that come Christmas I’d be gifted with a new one. HURRAHH!! When I ripped into that package I did jump up and do a happy dance. I am 27. I runnerchick nerded out, and I’m not even ashamed.

I christened that baby after all the other presents were opened…yes, I was kindly patient so the rest of my family could get to their gifts too. 😉

While the holidays can rock your socks off, they can also be stressful or tough for people too. Here is where running can certainly do wonders to keep you sane: literally pound out all the frustration. But it can still be stressful and stress sucks, it can eat you alive from the inside out.
run pissed
So let’s talk stress and how it may apply to runners:
* Derail Workouts: Getting back to my watchless example, type-A runners can fall into the trap of thinking themselves out of a workout. This thinking includes: “Those times are WAY too fast, there’s no way I can hit those!”, “I’m dying, I can’t do all those repeats”, “WTF?!?! I’m running my butt of and the times are STILL too slow.” It’s a slippery slope and it has a snowball effect, eventually you get nervous and fearful of every workout, you dread them, and it’s your brain [more than your body] slowing you down.
* Pre-Race Nerves: Racing is fun but it also comes with a certain level of stress. Some of that nervous energy is GOOD, but it’s a fine line between ‘just enough’ and waaaay too much. THIS POST is all about how to keep those nerves in check and not derail your race because of stress and self-imposed pressure.
* Training Rut: Slogging through weeks and weeks of runs where you’re not ‘feeling it’ and not feeling that spark for running can be a sign that you’re burned out. Reach that point and you’re stressed because you’re not LIKING running and it feels like a chore. Taking breaks after seasons is one way to avoid getting burned out, THIS POST covers other reasons for that ‘meh’ feeling and how to get your spark back for running.

Running should be kept fun, it should make you want to do those nerding out happy dances. Don’t let stress suck out that joy…and certainly don’t let a mid-tempo Garmin death get you down. The world kept on turning, which was a little reminder I [double uppercase for emphasis] needed that running is WAY more than just about the numbers.

…but the numbers are nice so once again, THANK YOU, Santa!!

1) How were your holidays?
2) Is there anything that’s been stressing you out as of late? How have you dealt with that?
3) When’s the last time you ran watchless?

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12 thoughts on “Stop Stress, Nerves, and Anxiety From Ruining Your Running and Races

  1. Running without a watch on easy days are a great idea. A lot of the time I run with my watch but don’t look at it until the end. But in the back of my mind, I know it’s on, so I’m trying to run hard. I’m actually starting marathon training here in a few weeks and I need to start running SLOWER on my long runs. I am in the shape to run 10ish miles at my normal pace, but if I’m running longer than that, I know I am going to need to slow my pace down I hope my Garmin will help me with that. My other idea was maybe running with a friend who runs a little slower than me and letting them set the pace? Any other ideas? (Not trying to PR or anything. I’m running this race for “fun”. Planning on taking pictures and just soaking it all in!)

    • i do the same thing with the wearing my watch on my easy days but i don’t look at it until the end. 🙂 BUT if u’re finding yourself still picking it up when u know u shouldn’t maybe try: shifting your focus to your breathing (make sure u’re breathing is controlled to make sure u’re not going too hard, think of your form and work on any bad habits you should be fixing there, running with a friend and make sure u’re both able to carry a conversation, and ur idea of having THEM control the pace is a great one too! sooo cool u’re gearing up for a marathon, i look forward to those pix. 🙂

  2. I love your new Garmin!!! I sort of wish that I had held out just a few more months for one so I could have gotten one of those – oh, well!!!
    I’ve been trying very hard this week to just relax and let the stress go – all good until I get an email or phone call from dealing with our business!!! More running!

  3. MERRY CHRISTMAS and how much does Santa rock?!?! Ok Garmin rock too for inventing it but Santa totally got your pressie right ;=)

    How could you ever leave that sexy thing at home?!?! You know I’m the worst for running naked. One day. One day – I will grow :=)

    Meanwhile I think I am declaring the “not responsible for my actions” art my favourite now. Even though I haven’t run for what feels like a gazillion years I can still relate!!!

    Hope you are having an awesome festive season! Enjoy your new toy!!!!!


    • cheers for santa!! 🙂 and yea, garmin should get some credit too…lol.
      and i’ll have to make that “one day i will grow” promise too! i don’t run naked, unless i’m freaking forced into it by a garmin that decides to die!! bwahahaha….do as i say, do as i say, not as i do. 😉
      i’m glad u like that art there, and don’t even sweat those ‘gazillion’ years, u are a runner through and through!!
      ahhh, shucks, i wish u were up north a bit, but i hope u’re enjoying ur summer style holidays down in OZ!!! 🙂 xooxox

    • i LOVE my garmin. i’ll be honest and say i’d recommend either a garmin or nike tracker over the FitBit or any of the others. if u just need the basics (time, distance, pace) you can get the Garmin 10 and it’s on the less expensive side.

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  5. Hooray for your new Garmin! Bonus points for it being purple 🙂 It totally stinks that your watch broke during the first mile of a tempo run, but look at this this way: Your watch could have broken the week AFTER Christmas and then you would have been up the creek! So bad timing for it to crap out during a run, but good timing for it to break the week BEFORE Christmas so that you could ask Santa for a new one 🙂

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