Psychology is very important in running. It is often the difference between the person who wins gold compared to the one who wins silver in the Olympics. However psychology is also important for club and enthusiastic amateur runners. To do well in a race requires focus and determination. There is a need to be able to manage the ‘pain’ in the latter stages of a race to prevent it leading you to slow up. Even in training there is the need to have your head ‘in the right place’ to complete an effort session or a long run. For professionals their entire focus is their running with the rest of their life having to fit in with it. They can spend time mentally preparing for an event. This is not the case for amateurs where running has to fit around all of the various other aspects of their lives. It is all too easy to arrive at a training session or race with your mind still turning over some non-running issue. If at all possible it is good to take a bit of time to try and focus on what it is you are trying to do in the session/race. In busy lives this is not always possible. It is important not to under-estimate the impact of this on your performance. You might end up with a very disappointing time in a race. However remember that what you have done is probably still at the very least a reasonable tempo session. As ever it is a case of learning from such situations and thinking about ways of doing better next time given the constraints of your life.
UKA Level 2