Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marathon Mania: Mental Mistakes to Avoid

We are 4 days away!  Woot!  The city is buzzing with excitement, Tom Skilling is getting detailed with the (warm!) forecast, and the athletes are getting nervous.  What a great week!  It's time to get your mental game intact.  Below are a few things you need to avoid:

1.  Phantom Injuries Over the past couple of weeks I have had hip pain, calf pain and IT band pain.  Not to mention signs of a cold and an upset stomach.  The thing about all these symptoms is that they have been fleeting and  random.  But with the occurrence of each one my mind has jumped immediately to the marathon and how this new symptom was going to effect my race.  My guess is that each of these small things happen often, but I typically would not even pay attention to them.  Try not to linger on the small things.   Your body is ready- you will be fine.

2.  Negative Talk/Giving Yourself an Out.  Has someone ever asked you how you plan to do during a race and you reply "I want to break 4 hours, but I have not been sleeping well, been in PT and my stomach hurts today."  Not only is that response mostly negative, but you are giving yourself an out in case you don't have a great race.   Instead with your response, you should just own it. "I plan on breaking 4 hours".  Say it, believe it, do it.

3. Not Having a Mental Plan.  The first half of the marathon is cake.  It's cool, tons of fans and you feel great.  Mile 20-25 are a completely different story.  When your legs feel like lead and negative thoughts are clouding your mind, you need to have a plan.   I remember the exact minute I "gave up" on my Boston dream last year.  It was hot and I was hurting.  I told myself that I did not care if I qualified because I never wanted to do another marathon.   And that was it, I could not trump that thought.  This year I have a few different places to go when I want to give up- those early training mornings, thoughts of my friend Ellen who passed away a couple months ago, and the way I felt looking back at last year's race.  Have a few thoughts in your back pocket that you can pull out when you need a kick in the rear.

Work on getting these things in shape and you are on the right track.  Stay tuned tomorrow for a visualization exercise that will be sure to get you pumped for the big day!
-Coach A

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