Dealing with failure

I think my tip would be don’t rush into trying to salvage anything too quickly, let the dust settle and then fight again with some mental and physical rest and recovery in place.

There’s 1 world record, but 8 billion humans. Sounds like @funkster you set a really high bar & if viewing the outcomes as binary, WR or failure, that’s pretty unforgiving.

Dunno if it’s any help but when I set myself goals I tend to think in terms of gold, silver, bronze.

Eg. For a HM Gold= PB, silver = sub 1h25, bronze = sub 1h30 or whatever.

That way there’s never failure. Just some days are not podium days :smiley:

A kinder way of thinking about it perhaps :thinking:

I have already mentally given you a bronze medal just for going out in public in a ninja suit, and a silver for finishing the half a few months ago


For what it’s worth, I don’t think you can tough out a core temperature that’s too high, and I don’t think it’s weakness to preserve your health.

Fear of failure is real enough for sure, but you are out their training all the time, and you don’t hide from the start line, so I think it’s unlikely mindset is the barrier.


I think, as @Jorgan said, overtraining may be an issue. I am not an expert, but even judging by your Strava it was obvious you were carrying niggles and tired muscles post marathon.

Thematically, I find failure a bitter teacher and frankly one that spurs me on. I think back to failed job interviews, race results and academic exams and it always forced a bigger design turn than repeated success.

Learn and adapt, you’ll be fine!

Key word in here is ‘today’ Funkster. Doesn’t mean it’s over and doesn’t mean tomorrow will be the successful outcome you have worked for but if or when you recommit to this you will know more, adapt and get a different outcome.
I have no doubt that along the way you have achieved quite a lot of the milestones you have set yourself just not put it out there.
Good luck

Hey @funkster, a lot better philosophical advise in the posts above than I could muster but would like to say that I hope you don’t give up on this, it’s clearly a tough challenge but that will make the achievement so much sweeter & we’re all rooting for you.

Weren’t you under there half time at your full mara attempt?

I had a stint of running in minamilst shoes & while they didn’t work out for me longer term with practice I did have some good results & set my half mara PB at the time too.
For the heat situation are you doing any sauna bathing for heat adaption? This really is std training for racing in hot conditions & it’s certainly the preparation I did when expecting to race in hot conditions if heat is going to be a limiter.

1 Like

I have gotten so used to ‘failure’ at various levels over the years, that now I just accept it and move on to a greater extent. Professional failures, relationship failures, parenting failures, sporting failures, anything you could get wrong really; I probably speak for a lot of people here in that respect. I simply don’t dwell on a lot of it now. This is why victory when it comes, is much ‘sweeter’.

When something goes wrong, whether it’s your plan, or something completely out of your control (like a pandemic for example) you have to ask yourself “how can I turn this situation to my advantage”.


I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out.

An interesting evaluation of what caused the problems means that you now have the necessary information to overcome them - if you consider the challenge worth pursuing.

I am currently working with an athlete who can’t reproduce his training performances in competition. There are potentially multiple reasons for this and part of the process is working through these and developing his confidence as we overcome each.

As for the GWR - the Indoor IM required 6 months of specific, hard training…hours of replicating the pace and conditions I was expecting on the day…


I think this is the key takeaway from all the really good advice above. Do you really want it, or was it just a bit of a side distraction for your IM build, that had the bonus of keeping you motivated and in shape that managed to take on a bit of a personality of it’s own because deep down you expected to tick it off pretty ‘easily’ on the first attempt?

I’ve ‘failed’ at loads of races. I spent a whole summer chasing a sub 17 5km a few years back and really beat myself up about it. Only when i turned up to one race, i totally could not be bothered, was in a bit of a bad mood, it was drizzly etc etc did i actually hit it. I ignored my watch for most of the race, didn’t have any pressure as i just didn’t care that day, and then dipped under for the first time. The answer, to my mind, was therefore pressure. So in the future i needed to find a way to stop the pressure being a negative, crippling factor rather than a motivation. Similar to @fruit_thief i try to have a few different goals within goals now.

I’m certainly not perfect. Almost 2 years on i am still deeply annoyed and hurt at my Beacons Way 100 DNF at 90 odd miles, despite it 100% being the right decision at the time. But instead of letting that negativity eat me up whenever i think about it now, i use it as a signal that the competitive fire in me is still burning. And it’s this fire that will drive me to overcome adversity and hit new targets in the future. I’ve told myself that the day i fail to hit a target and i feel only a ‘meh’ response, is the day this sport is doomed for me. It means my spark has gone and i’ll never compete at the same level of intensity (I may well choose to continue purely recreationally, but for now that just is not me).

If you really want that Ninja WR, then as others say - specificity is your friend. I have a mate that runs in 3 jumpers, hat, gloves, trousers etc on a treadmill a few times a week for hot races for better sweat utility and heat adaptation. Same as the sauna/hot bath thing. Prepare your body, because as a bigger guy, heat and clothing isn’t your friend here. Alternatively find a new costume that suits your physiology - how do you handle the cold for example, or are you suited to carrying a heavy costume whilst running the diesel engine?

Just some thoughts


I think, looking back, that my most painful failures were all part of two related issues:

  1. Feeling a need to prove myself and hence choosing a challenge to meet that need, rather than one that might be better suited or more enjoyable
  2. Not learning about item 1 quickly enough or not being prepared to move on from item 1

As soon as I focussed properly on what I wanted to do and achieve, problems with failure went away.

So, all to do with being comfortable in my own skin and not caring much / at all about what other people think (kind of related to gingerbongo’s response above but with less detail!).

I realise that’s not particularly specific to your current predicament but maybe worth thinking about the bigger picture of what you’re doing and why?


This is a little too close to home for my liking :wink:


Not got a lot to add on top of what has been said but obviously conditions didn’t help, they are out of your control but I don’t think it’s a lack of fitness either.

The issue when we set specific time based goals is that there’s a lot of variables. This then makes you feel worse about perceived failure even if there’s things you can’t control.

I’m sure we’ve all had multiple failures on things like this, Sub 10 IM (7 seconds, not me!), sub 3 marathon (34 seconds, me), especially if we’ve either travelled or focused on it.

In years gone by I’d be really in a huff with myself for a day or two before getting over it and moving on to another challenge to have another go.

I wouldn’t give up though, maybe chose a different challenge or just get more specific training in. As above I know people that are trying to do heat sessions to get them used to certain conditions. But I think the more time you invest the more you probably feel upset about it.


Think I reached a decent headspace with my years of attempting KQ.

I really enjoyed IM racing, the process of training, the execution on the day.

Almost by accident I sort of found myself in a position to give KQ a crack. But I was determined that it wouldn’t dampen my enjoyment of the rest of it.

It was a goal, but I fought against a binary success/failure view of it in my mind. I enjoyed the battle, yes I lost the ‘battle’ each time but walked off the course happy, proud and pleased I’d been in the mix. I put down 2/3 great races amongst those efforts.

Sometimes I wonder if the attitude actually cost me those 2/3 minutes, maybe I was a bit Frank Bruno/Damon Hill/Tim Henman, just not quite ruthless enough at the real clutch points.

No idea if this helps/contributes, just how I viewed things.


Nothing else to add with all the excellent advice already given.

Is there a GWR for someone dressed as Tim Curry from Rocky Horror? Might alleviate overheating issues

Edited to correct spelling mistake :grimacing: