4 Ways to Conquer Your Running Fears

The Fear: Tough Terrain

Up. Down. Innocuous words—except when they're describing a race course. Counter your terror with practice runs. "Find out the elevation gains and losses of your race online, then find roads that mimic them," says Gilmore.

The Workout: Simulation Runs

Long runs make the best simulation runs because they allow you to practice more of the course profile, says Gilmore. If your target race is hilly and local hills are in short supply, do repeats on the nearest bridge or parking garage: six to 10 one-to four-minute climbs at a strong pace.

The Fear: Slowing Down

The final miles of a race can pose a real physical and mental barrier. Break it down by doing tempo runs and long runs back-to-back. "The stamina you build will help erase the fear of fading," says Andrew Kastor, coach of the High Sierra Striders in Mammoth Lakes, California.

The Workout: Back-to-Back Tempo and Long Runs

Do a tempo run at half-marathon or slightly faster pace on Saturday, and a long run at a comfortable, steady pace on Sunday. Those targeting 5K and 10K should run a two- to four-mile tempo run, followed by a four- to eight-mile long run. Half and full marathoners should do five to six miles at tempo, followed by an 11- to 13-mile (half-marathon) or 20- to 22-mile (marathon) long run.

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