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Dealing with Doubt, Failure and Running

by Tanya Agarwal
Tanya Agarwal - wellthyfit

Doubt creeps in! No matter how hard you train! No matter how disciplined you are! No matter how steel-y you are!

Last year – I was on a pursuit of becoming awesome (I still am)! I started my blog, I was running full steam, I was being the total hands on Rockstar mom to my beautiful babies, and I was there for my friends! Dang! That’s a lot! A lot! But I didn’t know this at that time. I was running full steam because I had set a goal for myself at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, which I eventually did not. PB it was – But didn’t touch my goal.

Post ADHM- 2016, dwindling between being stubborn and determined – Doubt had started creeping in. But there was a race coming up in two months. I decided to chase my dream there. I got in touch with one of Delhi’s most admired runners, Alfredo Miranda, to help me with a run plan. Before he set up a run plan for me – he asked me to clock in a few runs. I would report back very happily saying – I managed and now where is my plan?

Long Story Short – A week before the race I fell sick. I didn’t manage to get my goal yet again! The run remains unforgettable. I thank my pacer for keeping me in good humor through those 21 kms. I went back home tired, burning with fever and yet completely sleepless. Laying in bed all evening, dealing with doubt, I thought about why I ran the way I ran, how I had stretched and stressed myself in every possible way last two months of training.

Despite my commitment – something went wrong: what was that? This list might help out a few of you out there dealing with your doubts and failures in your journey of running.

1. I was being unrealistic – Through both the races I was targeting a timing I wasn’t ready for. Can one really cut down 3-4 minutes of timing in 2 months? I was pushing myself unrealistically at every training run. My plan needed adjustments and I wasn’t ready to accept it. Does it make you less strong to acknowledge that you are unable to keep up with your training schedule?

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2. I wasn’t really listening to my Mentor (Alfie) – Through those two months, after every run, Alfie asked me only one question – How did you feel while running? Did you focus on breathing as deeply as possible? Do you know why we train? To make what looks impossible today – manageable tomorrow! I kept saying – it was tough but I managed it somehow. Time and again he emphasized the importance of warm up and cool down. But was I listening? While Alfie was looking at my data and trying to tell me a few things, he was actually asking me to work on my journey from impatience to patience! I was in a hurry to start and finish!

3. I shouldn’t have underestimated my pressures – I live in constant denial and underestimate the intensity of my situation and stretched myself beyond I could. And this is true for the whole of last year. We moms have it rough and tough. But I kept telling myself – I can’t let excuses get in my way. I kept running and waking up on lesser sleep pushing myself physically striving hard to check every box everyday!

4. Resting enough? – Morning – tough sprints, Pre-noon – 20 minute nap in the car on the way to pick up my son from school, Sleep time – maximum 5 hours and a 17 hour day on my toes! Resting a beaten body was the need of the hour! Time and again – why do we underestimate the importance of rest in our lives?

5. No Back up goals? So fixated on what we want and wanting it NOW! Why is it hard to accept that things always don’t go quite as we plan them to? A perfect recipe for frustration!? And setting up for failure? Having back up goals, treating my not so great runs as pit stops – doesnt let my entire effort go waste and I see things with a lot more focus and positivity (isn’t that how we move from one day to another).

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect (Margaret Mitchell). We’ve all had our moments of self doubt before that big race! We’ve all had our failures too after that big race!

While I’ve shared my learnings through these phases, what are you learnings? How have you dealt with self-doubt and failure?


  • Tanya Agarwal
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    Welcome to Wellthyfit.com! Wellthyfit is my ‘writing venture’ on health and wellness and a constant reminder that health is our only everlasting wealth! Who am I - you can read here. But at the core of it all, I’m a mom who loves to run!

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