By Curt Davies
Running long distances is more than just having a physically-able body. In fact, without having a strong, positive mindset during and before the run, it can be the most strenuous, difficult task you ever set out to achieve.
Oftentimes, it can be the people who either stop in the middle of a race, or don’t even attempt the race who have a weak mindset (though this isn’t always the case). Here are some tips on improving your mindset when running a race; whether it be for a marathon, half marathon, or even triathlon.
Surround yourself with positive people
When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re likely to have their positivity brush off on to you. It’s inevitable, which is a good thing. Think of all the people who are negative, and try your best to remove them from your life. Instead, find groups who share similar interests with you, and are always happy and outgoing. Even if you’re a little timid and shy, it can help you break out of your shell if you surround yourself around positive, like-minded people. A great way of doing this is to join sports, or even go on Meetup and see if there are any long-distance running groups in your area.
Remind yourself that you can do it
Every morning and night, months before the race even begins, reassure yourself that you can do it, and you’re not going to fail. A positive mindset is fundamental when running a long-distance race. Even
if you don’t feel you can do it, saying “I can do it” out loud can help build your confidence, and eventually, you will genuinely believe you can do it.
Don’t be alarmed if you don’t think you can initially run the race—most people begin with this mentality, because let’s face it, these races are one heck of a long distance, and can feel unattainable at times, even for the best of runners. Begin with a 5K, 10K, or half marathon race before building up and tackling a marathon.
Having a healthy diet equates to a healthy mindset. Put the junk food away, and start eating more natural foods. I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself to a chocolate bar now and then, but make
sure you keep it as “now and then”, not on a regular basis. Following a healthy diet plan throughout your training will greatly improve the results of your race. Living on GUs is not recommended. Instead, focus on fresh, whole foods and choose gels or energy chews just when you need a long-run or race-day boost
Stay focused on what you want to achieve
Whether you want to achieve simply finishing a race or making a certain time—it’s important that you stay focused on your goals. The best way to do this is sticking to a training schedule. You can find great marathon training plans on my site: marathondriven.com.
Treat yourself occasionally, but focus on staying on track with your training and diet (especially during the holidays) to have the best race-day possible. The months before running a long-distance event are crucial to work hard and develop the physical and mental strength for running a race.
Set realistic goals
Instead of wishing you could be as good as Joan Benoit or Frank Shorter, start focusing on racing your personal best. There’s nothing worse than setting an unrealistic goal and not even getting close to achieving it. So choose an achievable goal that is challenging, but within your capabilities. Look at your past race performance and push yourself to improve your finish time or increase your distance.
About the Author
Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast who publishes training info and more for the over-30 runner.