As you progress with your physical preparation for your marathon, you can also progress your mental preparation. Flexing those mental muscles as you increase those miles will help you sail through those long runs and the big race! Many of us have doubts and fears as to whether we can do it, whether we can go the distance. Yet, as we strengthen our body and build our endurance, we can also strengthen our mind to help us through the miles.
Trust You Can Do It
“Trust that by following a well-structured training plan with incremental progression in mileage each week, you can indeed do the distance”
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As the miles increase each week, some of us may doubt whether we can actually do it. Can we complete the 16, 18 or 20-mile runs and the marathon? Yet, there are a few things that you can do to allay those fears. First of all, trust that by following a wellstructured training plan (like the one outlined in this feature) with incremental progression in mileage each week, you can indeed do the distance.
The plans have been developed by experts and you have been building up your endurance each and every week.Be confident in the knowledge that since you have followed the programme, and you have safely progressed and increased your training mileage, you can continue on and do the distance.When you trust the training plan and that you have built up the physical endurance to complete the distance safely, you then need to know what to focus on when you run.
Focus on the Positives
While out running, remind yourself that you are ‘strong, powerful and confident’. Focus on all the positives of your run like the gorgeous countryside (or even cityscape) passing by, the fresh air and getting stronger and healthier in body and in mind. When you focus on the negatives, you reduce your physical strength and capability.
You make yourself weaker by thinking negative thoughts. Now, on those long runs, you will undoubtedly have passing thoughts of, ‘I’m tired’ or, ‘Oh, no, there’s that big hill’ or ‘I’m not really up for this today’. Yet, rather than dwelling on them and making yourself weaker, let go of those thoughts. And you can have a ready-made list of positive things you can say to yourself.
Carry this list with you and constantly remind your self of the positives. For example, instead of, ‘I’m tired’, counter that thought with. ‘I’m tired yet I’m grateful I can actually do it’ or, ‘I’m tired but I will focus on all the positive benefits I will experience when I complete this run (like a feeling of fulfillment)’.
And instead of, ‘… there’s that big hill’, say to yourself, ‘Yes, there’s that big hill, getting up it will make me stronger and I am powering up the hill, one step at a time.’ If you think, ‘I’m not really up for this today’, turn that around to reminding yourself, ‘I will do the best I can today and enjoy the fact that I am indeed out there doing it, rather than curled up in bed’.
By focusing on positive thoughts and turning around any negative dialogue into positive dialogue, you can get through those long runs. So, make sure your thoughts remain focused on the positives and the benefits you are getting from doing your training (additionally, sometimes having a sense of humor can help as well to get through those long runs, particularly when it’s cold, wet and windy!)
Focus on the satisfaction
In addition to focusing on the positives of getting out there and exercising, and the benefits you are currently experiencing, also focus on the benefits you will gain when you achieve your goal. Be that completing your first 16-mile run, 18-miles or 20 miles and of course the marathon.
Imagine projecting yourself into the future – be that either at the end of the long run or at the end of your marathon – and imagine how satisfied you will be when you complete those challenges. What an amazing boost of confidence you will get when you can say, “I’ve done it!’
Now, imagine yourself even further into the future and imagine what other benefits you will experience in your life. Just because you had the discipline, the dedication, the perseverance and the strength to do all that training, to do all those miles and to complete that marathon, what else can you now do in your life? Let yourself enjoy all the ‘what else’ possibilities of ‘what else?’ you can do, just by having completed that long run or that big race!
Getting through those longer runs and a marathon is indeed challenging. Yet, by keeping a positive mental attitude and focussing on the benefits, the satisfaction and all the other amazing things that might happen in your life when you do achieve what you set out to achieve, the sky is now the limit for you!