13 Ways To Completely Sabotage Your Race

Susan Donnelly running in the Smokies.

Here you go - just in time for race season. Thirteen tried-and-true ways to sabotage your race without even trying. Never underestimate how mental our sport is.

You’re welcome!

  1. Second-guess your training

    It’s done and no amount of worry’s going to change the accumulated body of work, so you might as well trust it.

  2. Compare yourself to others

    This never works in your favor. Ever. There will always be someone who’s “better” than you in some way, and you’ll find it. If must compare, look at your progress since you started training for this race.

  3. Worry what other people will think

    What if you finish “slow”, last, or even DNF? People will get disillusioned because you’re not as awesome as they thought. Or not - you don’t ever truly know what people think of you. Either way, file this under Things I Can’t Control Even Though I “Need” To.

  4. Try managing others' expectations of you

    Tell them you’re too old/ out of shape/ inexperienced/ slow/ tired/ injured/ fat/ something else to podium/ age group award/ do well/ finish/ PR. Cement the story firmly in your head by repeating it to as many fellow racers as possible.

  5. Fear the cutoff

    The ultramarathon version of being chased in a horror movie - run scared of cutoff and exhaust yourself with fear so thoroughly that it gets you anyway. Respect it, race it, but don’t fear it.

  6. See obstacles as proof it’s not meant to be

    Why are we surprised at the first real obstacle? No one said this would be easy - that’s why we signed up! Get past it.

  7. Get frustrated and quit because you’ve blown your race goal

    Why bother if you can’t get what you want? This is the ultra equivalent of a 2-year old tantrum. Grab fresh goals if you need, but keep moving because it’s only possible to have a great race if you actually stick it out and run it.

  8. Unearth the guilt

    As in, “I should be home with the kids/this is selfish/I should be doing what Person X wants instead.” Dwell on it for MILES.

  9. Beat yourself up

    Taking a wrong turn, going out too fast, falling…there's an almost infinite number of opportunities to do this over the course of an ultramarathon.

  10. Negotiate with the enemy

    Excuses, that is. Once negotiations start, you’ll find one that works. But there’s no win-win here.

  11. Believe you’re due for a failure

    You’ve had more than your fair share of good luck, so you’re due, right? It’s only a matter of time before something bad happens, and today’s bound to be the day.

  12. Assume it’s going to get worse

    Hit a low spot and decide it’s just going to go downhill from here so you might as well quit now. It’s the smart thing to do.

  13. Believe you don’t have what it takes

    Sit in a comfy chair at the aid station, look at the big climb ahead, listen to the voice that says you don’t have what it takes, and drop out without even trying. Easy! (I’ve done it)

Bonus! Wait for someone to tell you you’re ready, so you never even make it to the starting line in the first place.

Decide for yourself. Choose yourself. If not now, when?

Susan Donnelly’s signature

PS - If any of these sound familiar, I’m here to help. Apply here for a FREE 30-minute consult call to talk about how coaching the 80% mental part of your running can fix these sabotages for you!