Categories: Marathon Training, Marine Corps Marathon, Mental Toughness, Training
On Monday, marathon fun fires up once again. I’ve known this day was coming since, oh since that winter day I sat watching my computer lock up when the Marine Corps Marathon registration opened…and closed.
I am no stranger to this distance. Maybe that’s precisely why I’m anxious. Because I know what I’m in for. My head has been swirling with plans. Should I Run Less Run Faster again? Even though I vowed to change it up this time? Run More Run Slower? Train Like a Mother? Take Walk Breaks the GalloWAY? What do Pfitz and Hal and Mr. McMillan have to say? Maybe a hybrid plan. Even though I’ve done it before countless times, my head is in that ominous place where running more than 13 miles does not compute.
To help me (and you) along with the mental aspects of training I’ve devised some tips:
- Pick a race you REALLY want to do. Check. Marine Corps tops my bucket list.
- Pick a desirable time of year. Check. No guarantees but odds are somewhat good (knock wood) that it won’t be a billion degrees in Wash. DC on 10/28.
- Reflect on past success (even if they’re not running related) and build confidence
I paid a visit to my running shrine, which resides deep in the catacombs of my…um…basement…to help jog my memory of running well.
- Learn from past failures and let them go. Hello not one but 2 marathon DNS’s last fall due to injury. Plus profound fatigue from the Vitamin D fiasco.
- Break it down. Break your plan into months, then weeks, days, workouts, miles, intervals, steps to the next telephone pole, whatever it takes.
- Focus on one workout at a time. Break an intimidating long run into digestible parts: two 10-milers, four 5-milers, a 10 and two 5′s, a half marathon then a couple of 5ks or so.
- Review your workout in advance. I look at what’s coming up at the beginning of the week and mentally get my head around doing runs/paces that I may not think I am capable of.
- When you feel like you can’t, try anyway. You may be amazed at what lives inside you. I think I felt this way every. single. time. 8x800m was on tap. I’d tell myself I could quit after 4 intervals if I was dying. But I never did. For the record, this does not apply to injury.
- Join a group. Nothing like a little camaraderie and peer pressure to keep you going.
- Chart your progress. You may not feel like you’re making progress but numbers don’t lie.
- Visualize success. Every day, before, during and after every workout, visualize crossing that finish line. Smiling, upright, triumphant, feeling strong! What are you wearing? Seeing? Hearing? Smelling? See all of it in your mind’s eye. Imagine achieving a huge goal, no matter how far fetched it may seem. The more you do this, the less far fetched it will become in your mind. Where the mind leads, the body goes.
- Reward and celebrate your accomplishments. Remember those Lulu capris with the irresistibly tiny ruffle I was obsessing over? In my closet. Persistence pays off–in running and in shopping! Now I’d better get my behind in gear and go accomplish something.
How do you prepare mentally for a marathon or any race?
Who’s racing this weekend?