Visualize fitness setbacks


While training for the 2018 New York City Marathon, elite runner Allie Kieffer (who placed seventh this year with a time of 2:28:12) watched race tapes from previous years and imagined the lead pack breaking away from her. She says this prepared her for the less-than-ideal situation in case it happened on race day, which it did.


Imagining only the best-case scenario—setting a PR, feeling strong on the course—doesn’t help you plan for challenges. “We’re more successful when we’re realistic,” says Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Beverly Hills.

When you only prep for perfect conditions, the first hurdle you encounter could derail you. Berenc suggests thinking of a setback, like severe cramping or heavy rain, and imagining in detail how you’ll feel and respond.


“The statement ‘failure is not an option’ is bullshit,” Berenc says. “Failure is always an option, and by visualizing both wins and losses, you can avoid it.”

Photo: Emily Winiker / Art Partner Licensing