FOMO. It’s a real thing. The Fear of Missing Out has been a sneaky devil that lurks around our house. Don’t believe me? Look at our race calendar from this year. If there was a trail race around Western New York we wanted to take part in it, no matter the distance or the amount of races we had been running. At one point this running season I jokingly said to Robert, “If Scott Jurek can run the entire Appalachian Trail in less than 47 days I can run back to back weekends.” Although I was technically true, I could continue to run each weekend, I was forgetting one thing- I am not a professional runner and completing a run and actually racing it are two very different things.
Well it got to the point for both of us that FOMO was taking over our lives and having a negative impact on our running. I was no longer running during the week and simply running the races we had originally scheduled along some more that we had stumbled upon throughout the year. Robert got to the point where he was getting sick by the end of his runs- he thinks he’s had adrenal fatigue and has been resting to recover. We both finally took a step back and realized we needed to calm down on the racing and remember that we are runners first and then racers.
Added to the trouble we were beginning to have with our running was the fact that we have a move coming up in a few weeks and knew that we would not be able to finish a lot of the race series this season because we simply would not be here for the fall events. I was almost defeated before a race even began because I knew that I would not be fighting to compete for the Eastern Grip title again. It was discouraging, but it did help alleviate the FOMO although not in a good way.
Now that we are seeming to get back into control of our (running) life I have been slowly getting back into a normal running routine of about 25-30 miles a week. I am beginning to let myself wonder about my fall races down in Tennessee and Georgia where the trails and mountains are definitely going to make me miss the “difficult” trails and hills of Buffalo. However I still have yet to mark my calendar with any race registrations. It almost seems like I have a fear of commitment now because the race calendar we had got shredded to pieces because of our decision to move and the running struggles we faced at the beginning of the summer.
So why does FOMO happen for runners?
Obviously because there are so many amazing races out there to run in and only so much time. Logically speaking running two to three marathons a year is a lofty goal, but even then it is only two to three marathons in a year when there are literally hundreds of amazing races to choose from. Another reason FOMO may be an issue is because as much as we LOVE and are PROUD OF our friends who finish a race that has always been on our bucket list or we have never even heard of before and now want to try out there is always that little bit of a tinge… it is not jealousy (well maybe a small part of it is), but a lot of it for me is regret that I did not train harder or plan my season better so that I could have run that race too. I see a great race and want to run it- figure out a way to make it work in the future. Maybe it’s an obsession, but passion for the sport and a sense of adventure drives the craziness.
Avoiding FOMO in the future.
Obviously our FOMO got us into some trouble this year both physically and mentally that I would like to avoid in the future. So how can I prevent this from happening again, while still allowing myself to have lofty goals as a runner? Here’s my plan:
- Pick two or three main races for the year- by main I mean marathons or ultra marathons. Preferably one in early fall, one in January or February (remember I’m moving to the South so these actually exist), and one in late spring or early summer.
- Limit myself to only one race a month- no exceptions!
- Volunteer at local races. This one is probably the most important for a few reasons. One I need to give back more and the racing community has always been so supportive of me so I need to share that with others. In a less altruistic way volunteering at races will allow me to be a part of a race and avoid some feelings of FOMO without actually running the race.
Here’s to trying to have a little bit more self-control when it comes to planning my race schedule in the hopes that I will not allow FOMO to control my running life.