Sports psychology webchat

Don't miss our Q&A with clinical sports psychologist Victor Thompson on Wednesday 27 March, 1 - 2pm

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15/03/2013 at 16:41

Join us on Wednesday 27 March at 1 - 2pm for a webchat with ASICS Pro Team clinical sports psychologist Victor Thompson.

Victor has 17 years' experience working in the field, 14 of which have been focused solely in sport. He is also a committed triathlete, competing for both Great Britain and Ireland and is a keen participant in the Ironman event.

If you struggle with race day nerves, motivation or need some tips on how to cope when the going gets tough in a race, Victor will be on hand to help.

Post your questions below to get involved with the Q&A.

Edited: 15/03/2013 at 16:43
16/03/2013 at 11:35

Just a thought RW, why do you always schedule these events for during the day when the majority of people can't take part?

16/03/2013 at 11:40

I'm training for an endurance event that will take me at least 16 hours.  It's a swimming event so unlike running I will be unable to draw strength from the crowd or the runners around me as my head will be in the water.  I've done long distance running events and can keep the mental determination going for 6 hours but how the heck can I keep that up for another 10 hours or more with only my own thoughts for company?

19/03/2013 at 20:57

This might help some....

A few words of Encourgement 

For those who are treading the roads of a marathon for the first time. On race day think legs. What! I hear you say. Think about it. You get out of bed, you get to the start. You may well have had to take the train.


You have to walk from the station to the start area. Now you are getting nervous and you are walking around looking for friends or charity areas. You want to go to the loo, and you are forced to stand in a queue. You have a coffee and you are still standing!!!.


You change, and then at last you go to your start pen. What!!! Still 30 minutes to go and you’re still standing. Yippee the gun goes off. Hang on, you haven’t moved. It could take anything up to 10 minutes before you actually cross the start line. THEN you have to run 26.2miles.You don’t see the elite runners on their feet that long before they start to run. When you did your training especially your LSR you started from your house or at least the local sports hall. Which didn’t mean you were on your feet for ages before you started?

 The moral of the story is keep off your feet as much as possible on race day. Take an old shirt, jacket, and bin bag, anything to sit on wherever you can. If you don’t you will wish you had. Trust me I learnt the hard way.




19/03/2013 at 21:31

Yup - did that at VLM last year. Sat on the wall in Blackheath village watching the crowds streaming off the trains. Then sat on the kerbstone in the pen quietly stretching out and sipping on a sports drink. Only stood up when we moved forward......

Camlo    pirate
19/03/2013 at 22:45
My question is more for self preservation. I am not usually too nervous and manage the preparation and wait reasonably well but this year I am going with a friend who gets extreme anxiety before a race.
How can I help her and also how can I make sure I stay calm and focused while we wait?
20/03/2013 at 01:35

No need to answer this because it relates to my other sport... tennis.  But if you find you have time, and have a little gem of advice, that would be great!

I have always been really good at fighting to the very last point, chasing every ball.. and if I'm 5-1 down, I know that I've a realistic chance of turning the set around.  Great... real mental strength.

But on the other hand... if I blitz my way to a 4-1 or 5-1 lead, all too often, I let my opponent back in. And honestly, I don't feel I get nervous, complacent.  Do I lose focus? I don't think so, although maybe I relax a little... I don't know, but I sometimes lack the killer blow. 

It isn't every time, but there is a tendency. I suppose that there is a reflection within my general life where, for example, I tend to let things slide to the last minute, but then work great under the time pressure,

Any ideas?  Thanks

20/03/2013 at 05:53
H Victor,

I try different strategies to mentally prepare myself for the marathon and normally I'm good but when it goes downhill - it does so quite fast. Can you suggest anything that may help me recover from a bad moment during the race? This isn't hitting the wall - my energy stores are fine - it's that mental block of "I really can't be arsed anymore". I've tried the positive reinforcement but it doesn't always work.

I always find that if I'm good mentally the marathon rolls by quite easily but if I'm in a bad place - I'll struggle. How can I turn that around if I see that happening on race day?
20/03/2013 at 08:53




"When you stand on the Start Line, you join the club. When you stand at the Starting Line you earn your membership. Millions dream of being where you are. You are no longer a dreamer. You are a doer.


Thousands more started a training programme but never finished. They started with the same enthusiasm (or more than) you. They started with more or less the same physical gifts or disadvantages as you did. They had no more and no less reason to be successful than you.


But somewhere along the way, they lost that enthusiasm. Somewhere on the road or on the track or treadmill, they decided that the rewards just weren't worth the effort. They decided that they could live without finding their limits, without challenging their expectations of themselves and without taking a hard look at their image of themselves.


You didn't. If you’re standing at the Start Line, you've not only accepted the challenge, but you've also beaten back the demons. You've conquered your imagination and self-imposed limitations. You've gone further, got stronger and become tougher than you ever imagined.





20/03/2013 at 09:59

Quick one_

I`m training for a 4 lap marathon. Any tips you can offer me to cope when the going gets tough?

23/03/2013 at 08:45
Hi Victor,

Is there anything I can do to mentally prepare for the last 4 or so miles? The unknown miles - as these are the miles I will never have reached in my training and when I will be at my most tired.

Many thanks.
26/03/2013 at 17:10

Just a quick note to you all to say "Hello." I looking forward to answering as many questions as my fingers allow tomorrow, the 27th at 1-2PM. Post away, and I'll do my best!

Best wishes


26/03/2013 at 20:15
What single piece of advice would you give me (and other marathon virgins) regarding my mental mindset during my first marathon (Brathay in mid May)?
26/03/2013 at 21:01

I have been training for London since xmas but had to stop for three wks due to chest infection which has affected affect my running times even though i am back on track. I'm not a elete runner just want to get round comfortable in around 5-5.30. I have managed to complete 18.05mls in 4hrs but have found it hard to go out in the really cold weather.  Am I being relistic and would it help if I followed a pacer 

27/03/2013 at 08:01

I am doing my first Marathon at end of April...I have run 4 longer runs over 18 miles (18-22) in the last 6 weeks...but at almost 50 my body is struggling..what one thing can I focus on to keep it going for that last long long run on race day. I just want to finish so time is not an issue!.. Music with a fast beat does help..any other suggestions welcome..

27/03/2013 at 08:10
Hi Victor

I struggle with pre race anxiety. It's not particularly race day but the three days before I get myself so worked up I have a hard job keeping food down which means I don't perform my best. My last race I was so empty towards the end my stomach hurt. Can you offer any advice that would help me stay calm leading up to the race?

Thanks in anticipation!
27/03/2013 at 08:27

Hi Victor - Here's another one for you.

One of the biggest issues I have is the difference between race day and a normal run. I've done practice runs/races to get myself used to it but I still get swept up in the hype of the day, waste energy by being excited.

What can you suggest that we can do either on the start line/the days before to stop the  butterflies from potentially hampering a good race?

27/03/2013 at 08:59

I've been struggling with my training due to a knee injury in the early days and then illness.. I'm running London on April 21st, my longest distance to date has been 14 miles... I've done a half marathon race too which I completed in 2hours 5mins.


My confidence today that I can do this is diminishing, I need to do two more long runs before the big day and want to try a 17mile then a 20mile but I am worried I won't be able to do it.


Thanks in advance


27/03/2013 at 09:06


Like Gemma & Emmy, I also suffer with nerves alot before a race that I want to do well in (i.e, if it's an event I've neen training hard for and my goal is a PB).  However, the other day I did a 10K and got a PB and wasn't nervous at all on the start line.  I think this was because it wasn't a main goal for me, but I was still expecting I would do well.  However, if it hadn't gone well I know I would have genuinely brushed it off and moved onto the next race.

I do have a routine at the start of each race (which I also practice on my LSRs) around food, loo, stretching etc but even this doesn't help on the start line of an important event.

I know the obvious answer is to try relax at the start of my important races, but I find that easier said than done.  Therefore if you any tips on this it would be appreciated.

27/03/2013 at 09:11

Hello Victor.I seem to have lost my love of running.

Basically this time last year I was outside running at least twice a week with one long distance run. No matter what the weather I went outside and loved my running. I entered my first ever race - the Bupa Manchester 10k and I was so nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it, despite the fact I always ran at least 12k on my long runs. Leading up to it I pushed myself to go further, but found it easy, and two weeks before the race day I finally reached half a marathon. Obviously I was happy and proud of my running.

Even though on race day I was still bricking it, believing for some reason i wouldn't be able to run right on that day I did it and got a new 10k personal best. Happy happy.

Then I stopped?! Literally the week after I had no motivation to do anything and that motivation has never come back. Most of my runs have been forced. I get the odd run now and again which I will enjoy but most of them are just painful arguments with myself and I don't know why - usually that I cba to do the distance or my legs feel heavier than normal etc. I still run, but not as often as I was doing. And most of the time its on a treadmill, which is worse. I use the coldness as an excuse, or that I've eaten food that willl give me a stitch. I'm still regular at the gym, and I will push myself with other exercises, although I haven't found a cardio exercise I like other than running.

Is there anything I can do to get my running mojo back? I miss it.

Thanks for reading.

Edited: 27/03/2013 at 09:13
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