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"So Your Goal Race Was a DISASTER... Now What?" with Dr. Victoria Sekely | Season 4, Episode 4 | The Running Explained Podcast

In this conversation, Dr. Victoria Sekely and Elisabeth discuss the challenges and lessons learned from competitive running. They explore the pressure of setting goals, the impact of race disappointments, and the influence of others' opinions. They also delve into the challenges faced by women in running and the importance of living with uncertainty and being able to pivot. The conversation includes personal experiences, such as training for and racing the New York City Marathon, and going out too fast without adjusting race plans. In this conversation, Victoria and Elisabeth discuss the pressure of time goals in running and the reality of race performance. They explore the impact of shame and self-worth on running achievements and the importance of setting non-time-related goals. They emphasize the need to listen to your body and trust yourself in races. They also discuss changing approaches to training and dealing with setbacks and disappointments. The conversation highlights the importance of unpacking emotional trauma and redefining goals and expectations. Ultimately, they encourage runners to accept imperfection and focus on progress.


  • Setting goals in running should not be tied to one's self-worth as a person.

  • It is important to navigate the pressure and expectations placed on oneself and to set realistic goals.

  • The opinions of others should not define one's worth or success as a runner.

  • Living with uncertainty and being able to pivot are essential skills in running and in life. Time goals can create unnecessary pressure and detract from the overall running experience.

  • Race performance is not solely determined by time, and it's important to recognize and appreciate other aspects of the race.

  • Shame and self-worth should not be tied to race times, and it's important to set non-time-related goals.

  • Listening to your body and trusting yourself in races can lead to better performance and enjoyment.

  • Training approaches should be flexible and adaptable, taking into account individual circumstances and priorities.

  • Dealing with setbacks and disappointments requires self-reflection and a focus on personal growth.

  • Unpacking emotional trauma can help improve the overall running experience and mental well-being.

  • Future goals should be approached with awareness and a focus on progress rather than perfection.

  • Accepting imperfection and embracing progress is key to long-term success and happiness in running.

00:00 Introduction and Catching Up

01:15 Transition to Competitive Running

03:0 1Lessons Learned from Racing

04:45 The Impact of Race Disappointments

06:37 The Experience of Training for and Racing New York City Marathon

15:06 The Pressure of Setting Goals

17:17 The Influence of Others' Opinions

20:51 Navigating Expectations and Perfectionism

25:31 Challenges Faced by Women in Running

28:11 Living with Uncertainty and Pivoting

30:36 The Impact of Weather Conditions on Racing

38:36 Going Out Too Fast and Not Pivoting

42:53 The Pressure of Time Goals

43:35 The Reality of Race Performance

45:12 Dealing with Shame and Self-Worth

48:04 Setting Non-Time Related Goals

48:59 Shifting Focus from Time to Experience

53:28 Listening to Your Body

55:00 Trusting Yourself in Races

56:16 Changing Approach to Training

58:49 Dealing with Setbacks and Disappointments

01:02:02 Unpacking Emotional Trauma

01:05:13 Redefining Goals and Expectations

01:07:15 Approaching Future Goals with Awareness

01:12:08 Accepting Imperfection and Progress


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