#sub50project: Unlocking the psychology of running

So on Wednesday we had the second of the #sub50project twitter chats on the psychology of running. This is a very broad topic so I was unsure how it was going to pan out, but we had some really interesting points raised by all. Big thank you to those of you who joined in and made it happen!


Listening to audiobooks or nothing at all may be preferable to music

Interestingly, quite a lot of you said that you prefer to run without music to take in surroundings, listen to your body and savour the silence. Victoria mentioned that running is her ‘me’ time so she has ditched the music. Also, on race day, if you have headphones on you can’t soak up the race atmosphere, which can bolster you along. As an alternative to music, some of you mentioned listening to audiobooks and Chris suggested podcasts instead.

Would you ditch the music or do you ‘need’ it?

Running and anxiety: PB chasing and compulsive Garmin checking may be detrimental for performance and spoil the fun of running 

Can checking our Garmin’s frequently help or hinder performance, raised Helen? I for one can become obsessed with checking my Garmin and we wondered if seeing a slower pace than expected could cause anxiety and actually have a negative impact on running performance. Also, getting wound up about running all the time takes away the enjoyment of it. We all agreed that for short runs, we can leave the Garmin at home, but it’s more important for longer runs (10k and over) to ensure we are on track to meet target time. Steph suggested Parkrun as a good run to try running without the Garmin.

Could you run without the Garmin or are you surgically attached to it? How about giving it a go at your local Parkrun this weekend?

Adding your  name to your race shirt makes you feel like a rock star – fact!

By adding your name to your shirt on race day and hearing random spectators shouting your name out can really lift your mood – got to be a good thing right?

Uncontrolled pre-race nerves can be a bad thing

Steve mentioned that his best races have been spur of the moment race entries with poor preparation. John mentioned that nerves are good as thing as they increase adrenaline thereby increasing speed, but you have to be able to control them.

We need to bask in post-race successes rather than focus too much on what could have been

Lisa, Danny and I all confessed to focussing on the negative after a race – should have drank more, taken a gel, eaten more, or sprinted sooner/later etc. Shoulda, woulda, coulda! This seems to add extra stress and stops us enjoying the run as much as we should.

Are you guilty of this?

Having a mental strategy can help provide focus during a run

Lots of you mentioned breaking the race up into bite-sized chunks – eg, half marathon into 4x 5ks, making it seem much more manageable. In addition, others mentioned mantras that they say to themselves such as ‘I love my daughter’ and ‘just keep going’, etc. I visualise my disappointment at failure and that spurs me on, while others think of positive thoughts to get them through. Others picked a person to try and stick with for the race.


Thanks again everyone for contributing and giving us all food for thought for the next run.


4 thoughts on “#sub50project: Unlocking the psychology of running

  1. Wow, lot’s to respond to here. I run without music and never have. I love the silence of just the breeze in my ears. On race day I like to talk to other runners and sometimes the crowd.
    I like to keep track of my runs, so always wear my Garmin but have learned not to get upset if I forget my heart rate monitor!
    I don’t always go out for a PB/PR but when I do it’s all business for me. I mean that in the best sense. I pay attention to the details and I know what I need to do. I have a plan.
    I don’t get nervous before a race, I get excited! I love having the crowd call out my name like I was Bono. But I don’t usually put my name on my shirt or my calves! I get more of a charge slapping hands with the little kids on the side of the road. I could write a blog post about that!

    • I always talk to other runners too and usually say things like ‘why are we here – we could be sitting on the sofa right now!’. 🙂 I get excited too – races are what it’s all about – love it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s