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How Endurance Runners Should Handle Performance-Related Disappointment

by | Mar 29, 2023

This article was read 3571 times. Enjoy!

How Endurance Runners Should Handle Performance-Related Disappointment

Tips and Strategies for Endurance Runners to Deal with Disappointment

As an experienced endurance runner, I understand the feeling of disappointment when things don’t go as planned. It’s tough to put in months of training, only to fall short on race day or miss a personal goal. However, it’s important to remember that disappointment is a natural part of the journey, and it can be a valuable learning experience. In this post, I’ll share some tips and strategies to help endurance runners deal with performance-related disappointment.

Set Realistic Goals

One of the main reasons why endurance runners experience disappointment is because they set unrealistic goals. While it’s important to challenge yourself, it’s equally important to be realistic about what you can achieve. Setting unrealistic goals can set you up for failure and leave you feeling disappointed.

Instead of setting arbitrary goals, focus on specific and measurable objectives. For example, instead of saying, “I want to run a marathon in under 3 hours,” focus on improving your speed and endurance by following a structured training plan.

Focus on the Process, Not Just the Outcome

It’s easy to get caught up in the outcome of a race or a training cycle, but it’s important to remember that the process is just as important. Instead of solely focusing on the end result, focus on the daily habits and behaviours that will help you get there.

For example, instead of obsessing over your finishing time, focus on consistently following your training plan, fueling your body with nutritious foods, and getting enough rest and recovery. By focusing on the process, you’ll not only improve your chances of achieving your goals, but you’ll also enjoy the journey along the way.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Disappointment can be a valuable learning experience if you approach it with the right mindset. Instead of dwelling on your failures, take the time to reflect on what went wrong and what you can do differently next time.

For example, if you missed your goal time in a race, reflect on your training leading up to the race. Did you follow your training plan consistently? Did you fuel your body properly before and during the race? Did you get enough rest and recovery leading up to the race? By identifying areas for improvement, you’ll be better equipped to reach your goals next time.

Find the Positives

It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives when things don’t go as planned, but it’s important to focus on the positives as well. Even if you didn’t achieve your goal, there are likely still things to be proud of and grateful for.

For example, maybe you set a personal best in one of the shorter distances within the race, or you helped motivate a fellow runner to achieve their goal. By focusing on the positives, you’ll be better able to stay motivated and keep pushing toward your goals.

Stay Motivated

One of the biggest challenges after experiencing disappointment is staying motivated. It can be tempting to give up or lose focus, but it’s important to stay committed to your goals.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to surround yourself with supportive people. Whether it’s friends, family, or fellow runners, having a support system can make all the difference when dealing with disappointment.

Make an effort to connect with other runners, either in person or online, who share your goals and interests. Join a local running group, or participate in online forums and social media groups dedicated to running. Having a community of like-minded individuals can help keep you motivated and inspired.

Try New Things

Another way to stay motivated is to try new things. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut or demotivated, it can be helpful to switch things up and try something new.

For example, try a new type of workout, sign up for a different race distance, or explore a new running route. By trying new things, you’ll not only challenge yourself, but you’ll also discover new things to enjoy about running.

Focus on Long-Term Goals

Finally, it’s important to focus on your long-term goals, rather than getting bogged down by short-term setbacks. While it’s natural to feel disappointed when you fall short of a specific goal, it’s important to remember that running is a long-term journey.

Instead of getting discouraged by a single race or training cycle, focus on your long-term goals and how you can continue to improve over time. Whether it’s running a new distance, improving your speed and endurance, or simply staying healthy and active, keeping your long-term goals in mind can help keep you motivated and focused.


Experiencing disappointment as an endurance runner is never easy, but it’s important to remember that it’s a natural part of the journey. By setting realistic goals, focusing on the process, learning from your mistakes, finding the positives, and staying motivated, you can overcome disappointment and continue to improve as a runner.

Remember, running is a long-term journey, and setbacks are inevitable. But with the right mindset and approach, you can turn disappointment into a valuable learning experience and continue to achieve your goals over time.

Patrick Michel

Endurance Runner – Marketing Strategist

Patrick Michel is a Montreal-based endurance runner specializing in long-distance multi-stage charity ultra runs. For almost two decades, he has inspired many to engage in running, get fit and grow stronger physically and mentally. He has also written many articles about running.