Sports psychology webchat with Victor Thompson

Friday lunchtime webchat

21 to 27 of 27 messages
21/03/2014 at 13:34
Dear kittenkat 
Unless you are a genetic freak, you are unlikely to be winning top races. 
So, can you adjust your goal to getting PBs, to testing yourself, to doing more interesting races (if you won't go for age group comparisons?)?
Or, maybe you aren't yet the best runner that you could be - consider a coach, functional strength, mobility, nutrition, psychology... - and this could become your goal.
Alternatively, other sports are available where performance is based less on age - bowls, crazy golf...!
kittenkat wrote (see)

Ok, a serious question.

Sport was always my defining 'thing' of choice. I have been good at it in several sports ('good' being a relative term, meaning county level really. So semi shit if you're talking elite and ok if you're talking sub elite) over 4 decades and a few sports.

Irrespective of what I may or may not be good in my profession, I've always got a kick out of competing in sport (my hobby) more in terms of 'buzz' and maybe a projected view of how I would wish to see myself.

Now in my 40's I'm getting beaten in my latest competitive ventures by 20 somethings. Of course I am! How do I grow older gracefully and not be really pissed off that I can't make the top 3 women in local races? Please don't tell me to move to age cat wins and enjoy that.

If I'm a lost cause, please find me a sport that I can still win aged 43 and getting older.




21/03/2014 at 13:41
Dear Lord Didsbury 
Maybe. However, if he is a leading Kenyan runner, then he is already managing his mind in a way that allows him to run great performances. Perhaps is confidence gets dented, his concentration wavers to his detriment, he has destructive relationships with fellow runners, he gets too stressed before competitions to eat adequately... So, maybe a sports psychologist could help and that this would be reflected in his enjoyment and performance.
Lord Didsbury wrote (see)
Dear Victor.
If psychology has any significant benefit for marathon runners then would you expect that if a leading Kenyan were to employ your services that he would significantly reduce the world record?


21/03/2014 at 13:46
Dear knight rider 
Distracting yourself from thoughts is rarely the best solution, as it can have a temporary impact, then they come back, and it takes effort.
What if you viewed this thought as interesting, bonkers, unhelpful, impotent? Rather than as distressing, limiting, something to avoid?
What thoughts arise? How could you rebuff it, see the flaws in it, dismiss it as one bonkers version of what could be true in some universe, but unlikely to be informative or useful to you right now. What else could you think that would be better right now?
I hope that helps.
knight rider wrote (see)

Hi Victor, as an experienced runner I still get negative thoughts regarding some of my races. What kind of thought process do I need to practice before / during the marathon that might help distract?



21/03/2014 at 13:51
Dear maunge
The marathon challenges start when you first complete you entry form, from then on you have challenges. On the day, the challenges come (and many go), with more coming towards the end in terms of fatigue, depleted energy stores, negative thoughts, concentration lapses... Consider how you have dealt with challenges in training, when have these developed, why, how can you better deal with these in training so you are better prepared on marathon day.
Consider energy intake, fluid, pacing, helpful thinking (e.g. well done, keep this up, this is temporary, it will be over before I know it, today is a special test...). Consider 'taking' energy from the supporters.
maunge wrote (see)
I've had some really tough LSR it normally starts at the 14/15 mile mark when I start hurting, I've managed to push on to mile 21 but it really hurt!!. I've read that a marathon doesn't start till mile 20 which would be fine as I'm sure I can push on. My worry is that my marathon will start at mile 15 (as in training) & Is maybe now in my head I will really struggle to finish. Thanks in advance


21/03/2014 at 14:01

Thanks everyone for your questions. I hope that my answers give you something to think about and try out. Best wishes for your marathon and other running challenges.


21/03/2014 at 14:31

Thanks for your answer Dr Victor

21/03/2014 at 15:13

Hi Victor,

You missed me ...

Hi Victor,

I am currently training for London Marathon and have had a number of injuries leading up to race day.  I am worried about the mental battle faced when running the marathon and how to deal with them as I have not run over 16 miles so do not know what to expect mentally from the remaining 10 miles.

 Any tricks or tips to help would be most appreciated?

Many thanks,


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