How to beat the running yips

Settle down and relax

You may have heard of the expression, ‘the yips’.

It’s a phrase commonly used and directed at golfers, who are struggling to make putts on the greens. The yips is a nervous feeling, basically anxiety, which affects sportspeople’s performances at crucial junctures.

The same logic can be applied to running.

Of course, as runners, there are days when we feel great and others where it can be difficult to get through a run. That is only natural.

However, you can also go through a tough period (I’ve experienced it), with it being difficult to get going regardless of your overall training schedule and fitness level.

So, what is the solution if you’re in the midst of one of those tricky patches?

Here are our quick tips:

1) Stop and reassess

Consider where you are at (are you training for an event or have you recently completed a race?) and weigh up what you are looking to get from each run. If, for example, you are just running for enjoyment, fitness and the mental benefits, relax – and don’t think too much about mileage or pace. Basically, go on your hunch and what works for you.

2) Rest for a few days

Rest and recovery is vitally important and we all need it. You might not be feeling good as a result of heavy legs, for instance – which can play havoc with your technique. Therefore, there is no harm in putting the trainers away for a few days and returning reinvigorated.

3) Stop watch watching

There is no shortage of data around now and apps, such as Strava, and as good as they are – pile on the pressure for us all to record our data and share it. However, try turning your running watch off for a week and run for enjoyment. Indeed, not thinking about pace and time can give you a clear conscious.

4) Hit the gym instead

Get your fitness fix with some strength and conditioning work or yoga, or even get your cardio gains from another source such as a spinning workout or swimming session.

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