Under pressure

I am not sure when running went from “fun hobby of mine” to “another thing I can stress myself out about,” but I think that has happened.

I’ve been entirely too bothered by my off-day in Hartford, but why? I’m young, I’m healthy, and I’m still relatively new to marathoning. I have time to achieve my goals.

Yet, every time I set out to get my big BQ, I put all kinds of pressure on myself to do everything right. Just completing my running workouts is no longer enough–I ought to be strength training, eating right, and abstaining from things like alcohol and sugar. (Not that I’ve ever done those extra things consistently, at all, but when I don’t, I feel guilty.) Then, I tell everyone that I’m going to qualify for Boston, and I arrive at the starting line weighed down by my own expectations and the expectations of others.

I’m pretty sure the resulting tenseness played a role in screwing up my race Saturday. Some guy passed me sometime after the turnaround point and said as he went by, “Relax your shoulders and your neck.” I must have been clearly, visibly tensed up. If I was like that the whole race, no wonder I wasn’t running my best.

Earth to Meghan: You’re supposed to like running. You used to, remember? You even like racing, when you arrive on the start line relatively pressure-free. (Ex: Your half-marathon PR.)

I’ve lost that lovin’ feeling. How can I get it back?


About Meghan Loftus

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One Response to Under pressure

  1. Gen says:

    This non-runner who is also hard on herself (but about other things) suggests you do something in the same vein, i.e. working out, that is not directly related to your marathon performance. Take a day or two off every week and don’t run but move your body, maybe with yoga? Pilates? Something relaxing that will also help you build strength or flexibility. I arrived at this idea by applying what I did in my own life when I became overwhelmed by my goal to get into medical school. I was stressed the H out about chemistry and whatnot so I took a class I found stimulating one that was not a pre-requisite for medical school. It reminded me why I liked school.

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