Finishing a marathon may be one of the most challenging yet rewarding accomplishments you will ever do in your life. Physical strength will get you to the start line, but mental strength will get you to the finish line. Here are 4 tips to help you win that mind battle:
TALK TO YOURSELF: That little voice in your head can have such a big impact on how you approach your run. What we are saying to ourselves now can even affect how you are feeling come race day, so stay positive! Do not underestimate the power of a pep-talk. Repeating out loud positive affirmations, running mantras or even simply just saying “I can” will give you that extra little bit of motivation to keep on going.
SWITCH YOUR FOCUS: Let’s be real here, you’re running a marathon, you’re going to feel pain. Be careful and listen to your body, make sure you know the difference between fatigue pain and injury. Muscle cramps and weak limbs are expected; you can and will work through it. What you can do decrease this discomfort is switch your focus to something else. For one kilometre it might be what you’re going to eat for dinner, the next kilometre it might be your favourite movie. This exercise is great to pass the time and keep you going.
SET SMALL GOALS: You want to put your mind in the zone, in the now. Don’t think about the future and how far you have to go, that’s not going to help. The best way to keep your focus in the present moment is to set yourself small goals. Figure out your lengths: 5km, one kilometer, to the next street sign. But that is where your focus stays until you’ve reached it, then you just set another goal, and another. It’s also important to acknowledge and mentally celebrate these little milestones. By achieving these small victories, you will stay positive and keep motivated.
JUST BREATHE: Calm down, you’re doing great! Out of control short, sharp breaths will only find yourself in a negative headspace and losing concentration. Drawing attention to your breath, and focusing on taking deeper, longer breaths will give you the opportunity to work on maintaining performance and a positive mindset. Now use that mindset to ace your race!
RUN YOUR OWN RACE: You’re feeling super prepared, only to show up on race day and see the other participants in their elite running gear, with their futuristic technology doing stretches you’ve never seen before. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and intimidated – but you shouldn’t let that worry you. You have come today for one thing, and that’s yourself. The more time you spend worrying about what everyone else is focusing, the less time you’re focusing on your own success. The only expectations you are living up to are your own!