The act of running a marathon requires much more than just conditioning and increasing the physical strength of your body; it also requires a strong mental endurance. Believer or not, mindset influences many aspects of our life’s performances from test-taking to promotion seeking, and yes, even marathon running. Here are some important things to keep in mind (literally) before you set out to crush your next marathon.
Focus on Your Form to Minimize Distractions
Any sort of negative thinking derails progress and will certainly affect your mental endurance throughout a 26.2 mile run. Don’t constantly think about how tired you’ll be or any mistakes you’re afraid of making along the way; instead talk yourself up! Think thoughts that are both positive and employ confidence.
During your run, you may find that it can be easy for your mind to wander to scattered thoughts or self doubts. To combat this, stay constantly aware of how your body is moving. Focus on the way you are breathing or the way your shoulders are positioned to keep your body going and your mind laser-focused on your goal.
Visualize the Bumps in the Road and Strive to Beat Them
Rather than breaking out in a cold sweat when you think about the excruciating ascent or dizzying dip you’ll face during a particularly difficult part of the course; embrace it. Picture the scary bit in your mind and strategize how you will tackle it, whether that is by setting out key land-markers to assess how far you are from breaking home-free or even jogging the course a day or two before the marathon in preparation. Do whatever is necessary to talk yourself through and don’t forget to visualize the finish line and sense of relief you’ll feel once you overcome this obstacle!
Don’t Be Overly Ambitious to the Point Your Ambition is Affected
For a runner, it’s completely normal to set certain time parameters and personal goals to beat before a marathon. But don’t let these goals cloud your passion and overshadow your “why” for running in the first place. It’s important to take a step back and reevaluate once again before focusing solely on beating your time record from the previous year. After all, if you don’t reach these goals the only things you’ll be feeling after your run are disappointment and self-doubt which are never good outcomes.
We’re not suggesting you refrain from setting any goals, by all means go for the gold! Rather, we advise you to frame your goals in a self-loving and positive mindframe; strive for a certain record time but hype yourself up and be receptive to improvement should you fall short. Never consider your shortcoming as an indication that you should quit running completely, take any loss as a valuable lesson for future marathons.
What is your ‘why’? Whatever it is, keep it in the back of your mind as motivation for success before you run any marathon - whether it’s your first or fiftieth. And above all, don’t neglect preparing your mental health alongside your physical health before you take a spur on that course.