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February 18, 2015

Head Versus Heart

Kara Goucher

A couple of years ago I shared a message on twitter. I said, “Once you make the decision that you will not fail, the heart and body will follow.” At the time I was struggling with self-doubt and confidence in my running. I was slated to run the Boston Marathon, but I had been struggling with getting my fitness back after a long foot injury following the Olympic Marathon the summer before.


I was in a battle at the time about what I wanted in my heart versus what my brain was telling me I was capable of doing. After going through the motions for a month, training hard and not really making progress, I realized something needed to change. I had to mentally make the decision that I wasn’t going to fail. I wasn’t promising that I was going to PR or have an amazing race, but I knew that I wasn’t going to fail because I was going to listen to my heart and truly commit to what I was doing.

After I made that mental decision, believe it or not, my training started to turn around. And even though I didn’t PR in Boston, I ran a solid 6th - something that seemed so unattainable just a few short weeks before.

I try really hard to balance my head, the realist and sometimes harsh critic, with what my heart and soul want. My brain picks apart my training, gives too much credit to my competitors, and leaves me feeling overwhelmed. My heart is always beating and telling me, “you can do this. Dream bigger!” I know there are times when my heart wants more than I am ready to do (um, going for the win in NYC this fall after a year off on a crazy windy day?) but also there are times when my head talks me out of taking a chance on myself or truly dedicating myself to my goal. It’s a balance, but in the end, my heart always seems to win out. What about with you? What wins out for you? What your practical head says or what your dreaming heart does?

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Elise | February 18, 2015 at 10:48am

So inspiring!

I'm cheering for you, Kara! I love following your journey to your next big success, whatever that may be. I was excited to watch you race in NYC, and even though you didn't finish where you wanted to, you gave it your all and competed with your heart. Some days (like your first major race back in a long time!) that's what you have to do. I hope you keep allowing your heart to guide your head and can't wait to see what great things you accomplish!

Suzi | February 18, 2015 at 11:14am

I will not fail!

Thank you so much for this post. I am running the Lake Effect Half Marathon here in Syracuse, NY. This is by no means my first half but this race is a big deal for me. This is the 3rd time I have signed up...and it will be the 1st time I finally run it. Over the past year I have lost the weight I regained, and just this past Monday celebrated my 1 year of sobriety. About 2 weeks ago I started having severe posterior shin splint pain and have just been taking it easy...just a little bit of elliptical work to keep my cardio up. The legs are feeling better!! But I'm still nervous and a bit scared. But I will not fail. I am committed to this. Completing this race is like coming full circle over this past year. I have trained harder over the past few months than ever before. I won't PR...I won't run a super fast mile...I may have to walk some...I may have to stop a few times...but I will finish. I will not fail. This post came at a perfect time for me, so thank you again. As always, you are a huge inspiration.

Liz A | February 19, 2015 at 11:14am

Thank you for this post, Kara

Thank you for this post, Kara! I say train with your head, race with your heart. Can't wait to see you on the track again this year. Dream big!

Priscilla | February 19, 2015 at 1:05pm

Thank you for the

Thank you for the encouragement. I just opened a lady's activewear apparel boutique and February is hard!