I used to be able to do long distance run and I used to be an avid trail runner. However, for the past few months I only managed to run a few 10km-15km on the road. After running TMBT and not being able to complete it, I was scared about going off-road again. I could not face running in the dark, the muddy routes, the self-doubts…in short, I was traumatized.
Soon enough I realized that I could not allow my fears to overcome me. It could not suppress my need to be off-grid once in a while, spending hours totally to myself, and seeking new routes and adventures. I had to face my fears about trail running again. It’s time to show who is the boss here. I decided to go ahead with Janda Baik Ultra and use it as a ‘therapy’ to gain my confidence about long distance running and trail running. I went for the shortest distance available: 30km, with elevation of over 1,200m
Here are 5 points on how I used Janda Baik Ultra to overcome my fear of trail running again:
- Acknowledge that I have to face my fears
- Denying your fears will not help to resolve it
- It is ok to admit that you are nervous. Vent, tell to someone who is willing to listen, then let go.
- Realize that if you can overcome this, you can overcome bigger challenges in life
- If your fear is too big, break it up into smaller milestones. I set smaller goals by ensuring that I reach the aid stations first, so there were 5 milestones for me to reach my end goal of 30km. Now, 30km seems a whole lot bearable.
- Set a realistic expectation
- The easiest goal would be aiming to finish within the cut off time. But where’s the fun, if there is nothing challenging about it? So strike a balance between being challenging and being realistic.
- For example: Don’t try to aim for a sub 6 hour for a 30km trail run when your best timing for 30km road race is 4 hours 30 mins
- Be over-prepared, physically
- Train for it! There is no short cut to building your endurance, except to condition your body to get used to it. Strengthen your glutes and quads for the elevation with weight training.
- Double check your mandatory items. You don’t want to be denied getting into the race pen just because you forgot a whistle or water bottle. In addition to the mandatory items, think about anything you might need based on the weather condition and route. I bought poles, waterproof jacket, and a hat even though it was not mandatory.
- Study the route. Be aware of the distances between water stations and the elevation profile to make sure you pack enough water. Check the weather forecast too.
- Be over-prepared, mentally
- Get enough sleep for a peace of mind
- Talk yourself through it – Plant and visualize in your mind that you MUST FINISH IT. You’ve trained hard for this!
- Find ways to keep yourself positive and uplifted. I have a few phrases that I say to myself when it gets tough, and a playlist of songs on my phone.
- Focus on the bright side of the challenge
- Enjoy the view. You can never get to see the vast open greenery if you are running on the road
- Take in the fresh air. No traffic, no cars, and almost no pollution.
- Have fun during the “runcation”. After all, you are on a holiday!
I hope my tips will help you to overcome your fears to be able to live life to the fullest. Fear should not get in the way to enjoy the things you love, and it will slowly become easy if you try.
Share with us a scary experience, and how did you overcome it?