by Gina Shell

Besides the fear of bodily injury, psychological fears can interfere with your performance. You have set a goal for yourself, but you might fear the “what if” of not meeting the goal. Will people talk about me and my “failure”? Will I ever be able to reach the goal I had set out to achieve? Will I ever move forward, or does failure mean I am moving backwards? Failure is often considered a bad consequence such as: disappointing others, losing respect, and feeling shame and embarrassment. Everyone has been there at one time or another.

How we feel about ourselves is based on success or failure to meet expectations.   When training for a race, always set realistic goals. This is even true more if you are racing a distance that is new to you. The first goal to have is to finish the race. When I ran my first marathon in Columbus, my goal was to finish. My sister and I went with our group of running friends who had all run many marathons. We knew they had an intended goal time to finish as this wasn’t their first “rodeo”! We were not worried about time. We knew we had trained with high mileage and finishing was not going to be an issue. When we crossed the line in a respectable marathon time, we were elated. Finishing Columbus led to a few more marathons. We didn’t pressure ourselves for a particular time, and we enjoyed the experience.

Perhaps we should think that failure is not trying to accomplish a goal. You don’t know what you can achieve until you try something. Don’t count yourself short. As Mark Allen once said: “Fear is probably the one thing that limits performance more than anything—the fear of not doing well, of what people will say. You’ve got to acknowledge those fears, then release them.”