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Despite taking up running over 3 years ago I still find that I struggle really badly with nerves, particularly before training runs. Now the last 3 or so years haven't been easy, I've struggled with numerous injuries - soft tissue damage to the foot, IT band issues, a broken 5th metatarsal (not caused by running I might add) and my ankles have twisted so many times that they're very weak so I have to avoid uneven surfaces wherever possible. In addition, prior to starting running, I hadn't exercised in years, so was extremely unfit. But despite that, I've dug in and managed to complete a 5 mile road race, a 10k and a half marathon within the first 15 months.
Since then, however, I have experienced a lot of problems with running form and confidence. I do tend to run alone as whenever I run with larger groups or running clubs I find the nerves affect me so badly that I fail to enjoy the run. I've only entered those 3 races above and each time I've done that, training has become a huge chore because the nerves and the doubts set in. That said, race day hasn't gone too badly but I've hated each and every second of them and vowed to never do it again. "They" say that the adrenalin rush takes over, not in my case, I hated every single second of the Lichfield 10k.
What also plays on my mind is that everybody I know who runs is much better than I am. I have a best friend who is the best female runner in the county and she seems to just find it easy. My form has always been erratic - I can eat all the right things and have 9 hours sleep and yet I struggle to run 3 miles and yet occasionally I wake up on a Sunday morning hungover and can run 11 miles with ease. If I could pinpoint what makes me run well, I'd do it but I can't. Its neither diet, training or weather conditions. For every decent run, I have to endure about 10 dreadful ones where I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack. This leads to me feeling extremely frustrated with myself.
What I guess I am asking for is advice on how to combat these nerves. I accept I'm never going to be as good as my friend because quite honestly she's made better than I am, but I would like to feel confident and enjoy more of the productive runs than the dreadful ones I usually seem to experience.
For further info, I'm currently running at 9 and a half minute per mile pace, which is down from where I was earlier in the year (around 8 mins 40). I'm 4 months post metatarsal break so am trying to build my form back up to where I was. Oh, I also have hereditary high blood pressure, does this make a difference?
Sorry if this all sounds defeatest but I would really like some advice.