🇬🇧 ENG Mental preparation for a marathon

🇬🇧 ENG Mental preparation for a marathon

I was a pacemaker at the Warsaw Marathon on 29 September 2013.
It is a great pleasure and at the same time a great responsibility.
On Facebook I created a group open to all runners (link to the group).
A group for sharing knowledge and experiences, as well as for cheering and motivation.

In the process of writing another text with tips, this time about mental preparation,
I came to the conclusion that it was worth sharing and posting on the blog.

So here is an article on how to prepare effectively for a marathon a few days before the start.
Especially when your head is full of emotions, there is a lack of valuable information about mental preparation.
The tips are summarised in a simple and effective strategy.

Mental preparation strategy for a marathon

Physically, you won’t change much. And mental training should be done in parallel with
with the physical preparation. At the same time, in the few days before the marathon you can
can gain a lot from good mental preparation.
It will make a big difference to you if you do it well and with focus.

Before the race

    a) PEACE and patience. Accept where you are a few days before the marathon.
    This is the most effective thing you can do right now.

    How to get calm. Get yourself a bottle of whisky….
    come back to the way it was meant to be – analyse your feelings and emotions.
    That is, in Polish aka human terms – have an honest conversation with yourself. Get to the point.

    (b) Learn the route. The route description on the race website, video, etc.
    See where the full kilometres are, i.e. 20, 30, 40 km, and the landmarks.
    This is especially true for the second half of the race.
    Know the last 10km of the course as if your life depended on it.

    You can visualise your run, especially the last few kilometres.
    I do this before I go to bed, when I’m lying in bed and can go into a gentle meditation.

    According to Tim Noakes, the brain needs to know 25-35% of the course.

    And the run itself. What does running mean?

    It’s knowing how you’re going to react physically and mentally over a distance similar to a marathon.
    That’s why it’s so important to observe your own thoughts and reactions during training.
    The brain will more easily accept what is going to happen in a marathon if it is expecting it.

    c) 4-2 days before the race, relax and calm down. In your own way.
    Some people read, others listen to music, others take a walk in the fresh air.
    I like to go for a walk, get some oxygen and calm down. Whatever you like and have tried.
    Find time for yourself. You will benefit from recharging your batteries in this way.

    If you are overloaded with running news, etc., take a break from the running internet and social media.
    Switch off from receiving running content – blogs, friends’ Facebook posts, etc.

    (d) Prepare your family and friends.
    As suggested by a running friend, it’s a good idea to prepare your loved ones for your need to relax.
    Let them know that your big running holiday is coming up and ask for their understanding, encouragement and sympathy.
    While you can’t completely disconnect from the world, you can prepare your loved ones for the marathon.

    (e) Avoid sad emotions. Noakes, believes that negative events/emotions stay in the mind
    and try to stop the brain from giving maximum effort. I can agree with him.

    After all, you want to have as much physical and mental strength as possible for the race. Unnecessary stress is unnecessary 🙂

    f) Concentrate only on what you can control.
    Weather, other runners, course conditions – you have ZERO control.

    So why waste your mind on such unproductive things?
    You can only control your emotions and how you deal with them.
    Whining and worrying about the weather, for example, will do you no good.

    (g) Prepare your mind for maximum effort.
    Get your mind ready. The brain will accept increased effort more easily if it expects it.
    Think of the effort together with the idea of having fun. This is a continuous run of more than 42 kilometres.
    With a positive approach to the run, accept and prepare for tremendous effort and fatigue.
    It will hurt, fatigue will set in and you will ask yourself
    Why did I have to do this? Being aware of this will definitely make your run easier. Humility is important.

    During the race

    (a) run with your head from the start

    I know that sometimes the head is hot, sometimes the temptation is to fly forward. Stop.
    Run from the start at your own pace.
    Not because others run faster.
    No, because you feel good. No, because.
    A marathon is over 42km, not a 10km run. If you run too fast at the start
    and the first few kilometres will come back to haunt you on the course in the form of a slower run, which means you’ll run longer….

    (b) Motivation on the course:

    The basis is an optimistic attitude,
    With a smile on your face, it is much easier to do such an extreme effort.
    Even if you grit your teeth during the run and the last thing you can do is grin 😉

    My methods:

    • Break the run into smaller sections and count down before you start.
      For example, 4×10 and then I change to every 5km where I stop after 20-25km.
    • Admire the views along the way, get energised by the cheers of the fans, music stations.
    • At the first thought of fatigue, I put it out of my mind and do my own thing, i.e. run step by step.
    • I remember my training sessions when I had to deal with momentary demotivating thoughts and fatigue.
    • I also feel better when I make progress in the second half of the run.
    • Motivational slogans: \”run Peter, run Peter”, „no pain, no gain”, „keep on running”.
    • Focus on running – I just run.
    • Focus on running technique – how I breathe (or diaphragm), how I place my feet, etc.
    • Talking to my legs and analysing my running.

    A friend of mine, an experienced runner, told me about his method:

    • He finds a person running ahead of him in a colourful shirt and runs towards him.
      After passing, he repeats the manoeuvre. For example, a yellow T-shirt, then a green one, a pink one, etc.

    Notice how he analyses his running. It’s just concentrating on how I’m running.
    How I feel physically and mentally. I read myself and adjust my run accordingly.

    (c) Problems on the course

    Of course, you can’t miraculously make up for your training deficiencies.

    It’s already too late.
    I recommend that you think about what might happen to you on the course and how you will react.

    In particular, plan your tactics for the run and think about what you will do if something goes wrong.
    How will you react? I strongly advise you to stay calm. Don’t panic if you get a cramp
    or miss a water point.

    This is especially true if you’re running in a group and can’t keep up.
    Think about what you are going to do if you fall out of the group. Firstly, the calm and control
    and control. Keep running at your own pace. Find another group or run your own group, don’t panic.

    After the race – congratulations!

      1) Celebrate and … celebrate.

      You have finished the marathon. Enjoy it!
      This is an amazing achievement, marathoner and marathoner. Congratulations.
      Self satisfaction at the finish line is a phenomenal feeling.

      2) Analyse and learn from the race
      A few days after the marathon, review your run – in depth.
      Reflect on how you ran – both physically and mentally. Learn from the race and from your preparations.
      It’s very important in development, not only in running, to learn from your experiences.

      Reason, calm and concentration are what you need in the days before the race.

      The text is about preparation a few days before an important race, especially a longer one, like the Warsaw Marathon.
      It will also be useful for further mental training.
      That’s because you have to prepare mentally in your own way.
      Find out what works and what doesn’t. And train your head as well as your legs.

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