Marathon Motivation: Running your best London Marathon

Exercise

Marathon Motivation: Running your best London Marathon

We’re getting close to race day but one thing is for sure…. we’re going to need all our resilience and mental strength to finish this marathon.  

At this stage in your preparations, you may feel anxious and nervous, and your marathon motivation may be slipping slightly, you’re likely to suffer from some self-doubt, and sometimes sheer panic will creep into your head.  But don’t worry, it’s quite normal and nearly everyone feels like this at some point in these final weeks.

You’ll probably find yourself thinking that you could have done more training, gone further in your long runs, or be in better condition but you’re not a full-time athlete, and work and general life get in the way.  The key thing to keep in mind is that you’ve done your best and you’ll line up in the best shape you can, with fresh legs, injury-free, and with a realistic race plan.

 

Remain Positive, Don’t Doubt

You need to stay positive and remember that you’ve prepared well and you’ve done a lot of solid training; in order to get this far you’ve had to use your mental strength often just to get through some of those harder training sessions and long runs.  You’re fitter, stronger, and faster than you were when you started training.  Those sessions and the long runs, in particular, can be challenging so it’s important that you use your long runs to mentally rehearse and prepare well to run the marathon.

There’s some truth to the saying that “running is 90% mental”.  One thing that’s for sure is that running a marathon will feel uncomfortable at some stage. When this occurs, how you deal with it will come down to your mental resilience.  It’s important to stay positive and not allow any negative thoughts to get into your head.

 

Stick to your race plan

We have to focus on the things that we can control, especially when things get tough. So, concentrate on trying to run well – keep a good running style, maintain a good cadence, have relaxed arms and shoulders, run at the correct effort level, take on board your water and gels, enjoy the energy from the crowds and avoid any obstacles or other runners.

On race day there’s nothing you can do to change your physical fitness but you can control your mindset and this will certainly affect your performance, and how you run your marathon.  However, it’s important not to overthink it!  Mentally you’ve improved your resilience when you’ve been doing your harder training sessions and long runs …. you’re ready for this.  You’ve done the training, you’re in great shape and you’ve followed your plan.  You’re not chasing some fanciful goal; you’ve seen the evidence from your training and so you should have a realistic race plan….all you have to do is execute it!

Marathon Runner

By following your race plan, you can focus and stay on task, look after all the things you can control. As soon as you start to focus inwards then you can easily become embroiled in negative feelings … you’ll feel the fatigue, perhaps you’ll feel sorry for yourself … this is the last place you want to be!

 

Running a marathon needs focus

So, you’ll need to use your mental resilience especially when you’re experiencing this discomfort during the race. If you’re thinking “I’m tired, I can’t do this” then you’ll mentally check out, you’ll be inefficient, you’ll forget to take on your nutrition and hydration, you’ll feel very sorry for yourself, and end up in the ‘zombie state!  

We have to stay positive and replace these thoughts with positive self-talk….” I can do this”, “I will do this”, “I am strong”, “I will not yield”.  Go back to thinking about staying relaxed – are you on pace, remember that you’ve done this before in all your long runs… you can do this. 

When it starts to get uncomfortable, remind yourself about why you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it for, all the sacrifices that you and your family have made on this journey and ask yourself “how much do I want to it?“ … how important is that finish time?

I find it helpful to narrow my focus and break down the distance to go.  Rather than thinking “I’ve still got 8-miles to go” I just focus on getting through the next mile.  When I’ve done that one, I wipe the slate clean and focus on the next one.  Just stay mentally focused on the process.

Running a marathon is a challenge, both physically and mentally.  You will be asked questions multiple times during the race.  Your mind will try to get you to give in, but you are prepared, you have a realistic race plan, you have the mental strength and resilience to complete it and achieve your race goals.   So, stay calm, stay relaxed but focused.  Think only positive thoughts and the fantastic crowds will help pull you along.  

Running the London Marathon is one of the most amazing experiences and a day that you’ll remember for the rest of your life… you’re ready, so get excited for a great race day.

Keith Anderson

Head Coach

Full Potential Coaching

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