With Chicago Marathon fast approaching, the distance I will be running over coming weeks is going to increase massively. There is going to be a huge focus on the long run, with it becoming my main run of the week.
Having run my first marathon last year, I know first hand how it is just as much, or more, a mental challenge as well as physical one!
During my long run last week, I really struggled mentally. It brought back memories of the struggles I endured last year, including route boredom. Since then, I have really had to think about how I am going to overcome it and the strategies I used last year.
With a degree in Psychology, I have been and am going to be using many techniques, here are some of them:
Envision yourself crossing the line!
Think about how you will feel when you’ve completed your race. After all the effort you have put in during training, the race itself is your Running Party!
Explore new areas
Exploring new places will help take your mind off the running and tiredness you may be feeling. It will also help you with future training sessions – you are on your feet exploring new places, be proud of yourself and enjoy it!
Vary up the music, enjoy the atmosphere
Listen to your old school favourites as well as new tunes that you enjoy! It will help you when you are lonely and take your mind off the running. You can use the time to learn through the use as Podcasts and Audio Books. There are also great apps out there which help with motivation whilst running. At events, soak up the atmosphere and use it as encouragement.
Set yourself focus points
Break your run into small chunks and focus on getting there. Instead of thinking about, for example, having to complete the whole run, focus on getting yourself to the next water point or end of the street that you are on. It will massively help you mentally.
Believe in yourself
If you’re putting the hours in and trusting the process during training, you can do it! Trust in your preparations and believe you can do it!
Know why you are running
Having a clear reason why you are doing the run, and your end goal, will help you massively mentally! Having a strong enough ‘why’ will help you find the ‘how’ to complete the run and power you through mentally.
Train your brain
Know what works for you mentally and train yourself for it – think of your brain as a muscle! Understand what you need to say to yourself to have a positive mental impact. It will help you stay positive and persevere with training and running.
It’s important to set yourself plenty of time between signing up for a marathon and the race date. You need to train both mentally and physically, getting comfortable and being confident with training and running long distances. I’ve been training since last November knowing I will be running Chicago Marathon in October this year!
Go and enjoy yourself!
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