Running Anxiety

By Noel Paine

Same toolkit – different battlefield

I have been a runner for a long time. I have worked on some mental health struggles after events in my life turned the screws and made me stop and fix what was cracking. Running has helped me in many ways to relieve stress, to feel healthy and active and to be able to return home in a better state of mind to work on problems, be a dad or a partner. Funny how anxiety can disguise itself and slip past you though.

I am a mental health warrior who has realized something has gotten away from me. Rather I realized I was separating my normal life and my sport life. But I am only one person. My psychology for life should apply to all aspects of my life. I made me realize I needed to stop and check in on myself.

I am currently writing a series of articles exploring my struggle on race day (as a runner and racewalker) and why I have this problem. I am talking to myself, other runners, elites and then sports performance specialists who help guide athletes. I know day to day is about a balance of body and mind, its funny how I have not applied this to my active life. I train really hard physically but have neglected my mental preparation. Here is my second article that talks to other runners about their struggles

After a lot of reading and talking I have decided to focus on my mental preparation as much as I train physically. I have talked to myself and evaluated why I run, racewalk and compete and thought about why I challenge myself and go after lofty goals. I love training hard, I like going fast and I like achieving things – but I put a lot of pressure on myself and expect a lot.

As I continue my mental, inner journey I have decided to get a small notebook and write positive thoughts about myself, my racing, training and about how I will approach racing. I am focusing on relaxing, thinking about what I like about competing and giving 100% on race day and not worrying about things I cannot control. I have also created a 10-minute self-meditation/self-visualization audio recording where I talk to myself about thinking about how I want to be on race day – warming up, getting to the start line, during the race and after. I plan to write and talk to myself daily along with as much meditation as I can. I plan to be prepared body and mind. Like in the rest of my life – its about balance.

Life is a journey of learning and self-discovery. Without change we stay as we are. Good luck on your journey fellow mental health warriors.

Find me on Twitter at @NoelPaine and on Instagram at @runningwriter – I love to hear from others!