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  • Joy SpearChief-Morris

Pre-Season Confidence and Self Doubts

photo by Andy White

January for me typically means one thing: indoor track season has arrived! Although this year, I am coming into this indoor season from a completely different stance than I am used to. Usually, at this time of year I would be full blown into the college season. I would know how my body was supposed to feel, I would have my general "benchmarks" of how fast I am and what times I could generally expect from myself. Now, I am in an entirely new training environment and training model where everything is different from my warm up to my lifting. I am still adjusting to my new life off the track and navigating how to "settle" into working and adult life. Then with the Thomas Fire and now the devastating Montecito Mudslides we have had very little access to our track, and even our coach for the last month! Our first indoor meet is less than two weeks away and if there has ever been a time where I needed to trust the process this would be it...

Lately I have found myself really having to get out of my head when I am at practice, or even outside of practice, and not overthink everything I am doing. Mainly, how I have been feeling is very slow, and as a sprinter, that is not how I like to feel when I am on the track. Now I know there are so many different factors going on like I said: new training model, natural disasters, even being home for Christmas will all affect how my training has been going lately. The speed training I have done has been very different than what I am used to and sometimes I feel like I have not done enough short speed work on the track. With the fires and going home for Christmas my access to a track became slightly more limited, so many of my longer workouts had to be done on a treadmill (if you have not done hills on a treadmill, it is an experience let me tell you!). Then being back on the track this week, I suddenly felt awkward during my workouts. I felt like I was not executing my approaches to the hurdles well and my legs felt heavy but not powerful driving out of blocks and while doing starts. During my special endurance workout on Friday I was a little off my paces. Coming from a short sprints background....paces are a mystery to me. I do not have lots of experience with them and it is often hard for me to understand them. So then when I don't hit them it makes me feel frustrated. This is where those moments of self doubt start to come in. For me, it is all of those little things that I start to over think about. Suddenly I feel like I should not have enjoyed as much pie during the Christmas holidays as I did. I currently have a bit of a cold, how is that going to affect how I run in a couple weeks? Maybe I am not as fast as I should be. What if I don't accomplish my goals this season?

Truly, I know that many of these little things are not worth stressing over, but when I get into a mental block its really hard to see past it. I talked to my coach about the workout and the paces and about how I have been struggling to get out of that mental block that I have to always be fast! He assured me that I was hitting my paces fine and that we are working on building up my body to be able to handle speed for longer periods of time and thus be able to handle holding my top speed through 10 hurdles, 100 meters and even 200 meters. My general struggle over the last few years has been my inability to transfer my speed and success from indoor to outdoor and sometimes I think I need to be reminded of that big picture. Yes I want to make that world indoor team and PB in the 60 meter hurdles and feel fast, but I also want to be successful in the long term and see those results come in the outdoor season as well. I really had to sit myself down and reflect on the one thing that I know I struggle with when it comes to my mental "game": trusting. my. process.

Confidence and self doubt in sport is a funny thing. It is not always one or the other and sometimes I have them both at the same time. I fully believe I can accomplish the goals I have set for myself and I have confidence in what I am doing. I would not have made the move to where I am if I did not have that confidence that I can do it. Physically, I know I am stronger and fitter than I have been before at this point coming off of base season. I can accomplish more in my speed endurance and special endurance workouts than I would have been able to before. What would have been a killer workout of the month before is now just a regular weekly endurance workout. I can already see small body composition changes as a result of the weight room and my new training and I know my dedication to my workouts is making me stronger. I know that I am giving it my all when I am on the track or cross training. I also know that there are places where I can improve. I can always get stronger in the weight room. I have been feeling so much more confident about my approach to the first hurdle, and I know I am still fairly new to hurdling and my technique is far from perfect. I am typically very big on my nutrition but I also enjoy balance and enjoying treats here and there. Rest is a truly important part of training, even with nutrition. I can not be incredibly strict with what I eat all the time otherwise I will drive myself crazy. Christmas time is always a time for me to relax my nutrition a bit and enjoy holiday baking and cooking and enjoy everything with my family. Getting back into a routine is never easy, especially with nutrition and now with indoor meets only a few weeks away I am trying to not overthink my choices and know I am doing the best that I can to be the healthiest that I can be.

So here I stand, a few weeks from my first indoor meet of the year during my first season as a post-collegiate and I am having to channeling my ability to trust the process and believe that what I am doing is going to get me to where I want to be. Even though I may have my own self doubts or mental road blocks here and there, I am confident in my ability to rise to the occasion. More importantly, I could not be more excited to open my season! Competing makes me excited; it makes all the training and the crying on the hills worth it! So in the coming weeks I will be reminding myself to not get thrown off by the little things, enjoy a cupcake here or there and trust. the. process!


I am so thankful for those who support me and believe in my abilities. In order to reach my athletic goals for 2018, I am looking for financial support through my GoFundMe page. Funds raised from this campaign will go towards the expenses involved for this coming track season, including travel costs, accommodations and meet entrance fees to compete at large meets, as well as track costs for training. I have just over two weeks left in my campaign! If you can, please share my page with your friends, family and social networks (link below), and if you are able to please donate to my campaign. I appreciate any help I can get, even sharing my page can go a long way. Thank you everyone for your support.

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