comrade running-emotional issue of a runner

Categories Comrade Marathon

Emotional issue of a runner
As comrade training ended and entered in tapering phase ,I looked  towards the statistics of the comrade race . I found that out of 16000 odd runners standing at the start line ,about 20 % don’t reach up to finish line in a scheduled time of the race .The most of the runners standing at start line of “the ultimate human race ” trained well as per their parameters and time available but a significant lot not able to look towards the  finish line clock with a pride  .The stories of “DNF“( Did not finish) are very scary.


Some people say that the slow runners who start running in” H ” seeding loose about 10  to 15 minutes of timing and these 10 to 15  minutes are vital and they are unable to make it .But this is not correct .The good amount of the runners lined up at  seeding H able to make it comfortably .On the contrary, some fast runners of sub 4 and sub 3:30 marathon timing  lined up in seeding B,C,D failed to make it.

Why it happens year after year ?

I also do not know the perfect  answer but more than physical tiredness the fatigue resistant temperament  is responsible for this  .

The longer the race the more capability to handle  the fatigue is needed . One need to have strong fatigue resistant temperament .The fatigue resistance capacity has a lot to do with emotional care by the runner .

It is a fact that majority of the  runners are physically over educated but emotionally under educated .It  is more true for the recreational runners although a lot elite runners too are emotionally weak .The learning of  emotional education has a direct nexus with  pushing the limits by individual runner within his/her parameters and abilities to run. .The more we push the limits the more we have to deal with emotional quotient of the long distance running .The important feature is to control your anxiety and arousal levels before the race and to run the race in your mind as often as possible before you attempt in reality .The  list of emotions need to be taken care of are so many



Pressure of any kind 


They all are interrelated thoughts and culminating in to a high level of fatigue when  the body of a runner is tired.In  a distance of 87/89 kms of the race they will not attack you once or twice but they will meet you a number of times .But how to address them ?They can’t be addressed on the race day if you not dealt with them earlier .Therefore, to push the limits in practice run is only solution to address them .Not to address them once or twice but a number of times .The more you  address them the more you have acquaintances with them and more comfortable with them   during the race.

In the process of pushing the limits in your practice run each and every day you set a goal . The goal may be achieved or may not be . But you started knowing your limits and how far you may push to yourself .The fatigue resistance temperament started developing day by and stress,anxiety,panic all started getting an answer by you .The successful day  of the practice run will teach you that how you have addressed them despite that you was may have succeed by

just hold on it will go away ,

Just have a gel/nutrition  or some hydration it will go away ,

Have a deep breath and take a walk break it will go away.

The Bannister 4 minutes mile barrier and Nike sub two hours barrier is nothing but pushing the limits not in race only but each and every day of the training .They extrapolated it in the race day .On both the occasions the limits were pushed with a well thought  strategy  .Bannister devised strategy individually and in Nike” sub 2 barrier run “a team comprising of experts worked for it.

Bannister believed not in a blatant pacing strategy but a well planned strategy having the element of surprise in it.  . He himself described his pacing strategy over Landy when he ran 3:58:8 minutes ,a mile , ahead of Landy . He forced Landy to set up the pace of 4 minutes a mile for him knowing that with the reserve power he  will take over to Landy in last lap .The tactics was to  push Landy ahead of him . Use him as a pacer and in final lap overcome him . The importance of his strategy was to inform his central governor before the race of what to be expected and don’t be panic when Landy is cruising ahead of him . He was successful because his pacing strategy was to maximize his physical ability and control the panic in between the race . Contrary to Bannister , Landy panicked  at the first gait  of the race .He ran too fast and was unaware that Bannister was not running slow but using him as a pacer so that at the end he may cruise with reserved energy .

In  sub 2 barrier race attempted by the three great runners and conceptualized by the Nike team , in front of Kipochee a pacer wall was running .  Kipochee was following that wall . Kipochee is best distance runner of the world as of now . To convince his governor to follow the pacers ,who are not known as talented as kipochee, is an easy job . Had no pacers involved in the race probably the same result may not be there on that very date .

On both the occasions the great runners not panicked at all.They controlled their emotions.Both the runners have convinced their central governor how to proceed in the race.The strategy was almost same but conceptualization of the strategy was a bit  different .One was individual attempt having extreme sense of surprise and another was transparent, blatant and well thought.

Even the Kenyan runners are using the same strategy and it is   is one of the reason that why Kenyans are having better performance over the other athletes . They run in a group . They pace in a group . They switch over one by one to pace and others follow it . The effort and performance of pacer convincing to others following him that if he is able to run then why not I ?

The pushing the limits and dealing with the emotions are the regular feature of the Kenyan runners. 

The emotional issue of a runner is not a new subject . A lot study has been done on this and by comparison it has been concluded that the most successful athletes are more emotionally strong one  . The stronger in dealing with emotions the better you are to tackle the race .

There is one outcome that the concept of the” hitting the wall”  is not as dreadful nowadays as used to be 15/20 years ago . One of the reason for the same is advocated by so many that the use of high powered nutrition and hydration. The awareness of the fuel injection during the race .

But I think one aspect is being missing  here . It is true that the knowledge of fuel supplements during the race has helped substantially  but the emotional quotient of the runners are being taken care of by them much more efficiently as used to be taken care earlier  .

Nowadays runners training is  much more  stronger  . They started grilling themselves a lot during the race and fighting with negative emotions in practice run . The successful combat with  emotions during the practice run now proving to be beneficial during the race and concept of hitting the wall is diminishing day by day .

The longer the race the more capability needed to handle   the emotional outburst  inside the violent thoughts  of a runner and more you train with pushing the limits temperament , more you will be able to run successfully during the big day of 87/89 kms of the race.
In the 12 hours long race of “the ultimate human race”, there is a  need to have  more efficient approach to handle the emotional issues during the course of the day . The taper time is to introspect it and a well devised strategy within the limitations of individual runner may be a formula for the same .

Just a few more days to go 

for “the ultimate human race”



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