How 2x Olympian Kara Goucher Handles Expectations, Pressure, and Pre-Race Anxiety

Whether you’re an elite athlete or race for the fun of it, we all feel pressure in our own way.  Pressure can be crippling, but it also has the power to be productive when you learn how to manage it appropriately.

Kara learning how to handle pressure in the early years!

This week’s guest on the podcast needs no introduction. As one of America’s most dominant female runners, Kara Goucher earned a spot on the Olympic team in the 10,000 meters in 2008, and the marathon in 2012. She was second in the 10,000 meters at the World Championships in Osaka and placed third in both the Boston and New York City marathons.

Kara has retired from competitive running but remains an active presence as an athlete advisor for Oiselle and Altra.  She is a sports analyst and broadcaster for NBC Sports, and had an opportunity to be on the other side of the camera as a color commentator at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kara Goucher on Pressure and Expectations

Competitive from a young age when she would regularly beat all the boys, Kara Goucher has learned how to handle pressure and pre race anxiety throughout her career as a runner and beyond. Although Kara dealt with pressure at an elite level, that feeling is something all runners can relate to.

Whether it’s the expectations you set for yourself, feeling pressure from other individuals, or comparing your accomplishments with other runners, the burden of pressure can be overwhelming when you aren’t able to manage it. A certain amount of mental toughness is needed.

But nervousness and pre-race jitters can also mean that you are invested in what you are about to do. When you learn how to channel that adrenaline to help instead of hurt, you can use pressure to your benefit.

Kara and I cover a lot of ground on the podcast this week, including the following:

  • The pros and cons of feeling pressure, and how to manage it to get the best from yourself
  • How that feeling of pressure has evolved for Kara over the course of her career
  • The value of personal mantras
  • Kara’s intense preparation for broadcasting races, and her goals as a commentator
  • What makes a good race for Kara as a runner and as an an analyst
  • And perhaps most importantly, if and when she’s starting a podcast with Des Linden!

Kara’s enthusiasm and commitment to all aspects of the running community is apparent in everything she does.  Enjoy my conversation with the one and only Kara Goucher!

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Thank You InsideTracker!


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