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!

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Links & Resources from the Show:

Thank You InsideTracker!

InsideTracker

This episode is brought to you by InsideTracker, one of the most reputable blood testing companies in the world. They were founded in 2009 by aging, genetics, and biometrics scientists to help you analyze your body’s data and get a firm idea of how well you’re responding to training.

Understanding your body’s biomarkers, from stress hormones to testosterone to Vitamin D, can help you figure out if you’re over-training, under-training, optimally training, or if you have a health issue that might be affecting your running. But the best part is that they give you personalized optimal ranges for each of these biomarkers and a host of ways to improve these markers through diet, lifestyle, or exercise changes.

I’ve personally gotten three Ultimate tests from them and the process is simple, easy, and very eye-opening if you haven’t done a deep dive on your biomarkers yet.  Of all the investments you can make in your running, this one is like getting a detailed checkup or regularly scheduled maintenance for your internal physiology. 

If you’re ready to take control of your health and optimize your training, get 25% off any of their blood tests with code STRENGTHRUNNING at InsideTracker.

Thank you Tanri Outdoors!

Thank you to a previous sponsor who has rejoined us, Tanri Outdoors! They’re offering 10% off your order with code JASON at checkout.

Tanri makes all-natural mineral sunscreen, lip balm, and moisturizer that protects you from both types of UV rays. Tanri is made by runners, for runners! All of their products are reef-safe and never tested on animals. 

If you spend a fair amount of time outdoors, you know the importance of applying sun protection. I have had to make it a habit myself, living in the mile high city of Denver. Using Tanri products is easy and effective, so I hope you’ll give them a try.

Mineral sunscreens like the ones from Tanri typically work better than chemical sunscreens as they protect you from both types of UV rays. And none of their products have phthalates, parabens, or artificial fragrances.

Tanri also gives back 1% of their proceeds to help protect our National Parks. That’s a win for you and for our planet! Browse all of their sun care products and use code “JASON” to save 10% on your order.

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email