Mental training is huge when it comes to long distance running especially during marathon and half marathon races.
Let's think about what success is since success is tied to not only physical but also mental parameters. The dictionary defines success as, "the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted." You see, it is very subjective. It is how you perceive something. Do you see it as a success or as a failure? Mental training will help you to understand success, to help you reach success. It boils down to this:
How you THINK is how you FEEL is how you DO.
It's powerful stuff, your thoughts.
So let me tell you how mental training is beneficial to your race strategy and then once you are convinced, be sure to check out 20 Week Develop Your Marathon Mindset Workbook to help you mentally prepare for your next marathon race!
Alright here are 7 reasons why you should WANT to have a mental strategy for your long distance race:
1. Having clearly defined goals, vision, and purpose solidifies in your mind WHY you are doing this race. In marathons especially, there comes a point in time where you start to ask yourself "Why in the world am I out here?". If you don't have a clear response to that it is easy to get sucked down into the negativity tunnel instead of being able to refocus.
2. Defining your mantra is an important component of mental training it is something that is really going to take hold on you and dictate your subconscious. A mantra is a word or phrase repeated to aid concentration in meditation. (MAN = mind, TRA = instrument). It is an instrument of the mind. If you pick the write mantra for yourself you will be able to have a better control on your subconscious level of your mind. I'll show you how to choose the perfect mantra for YOU in the 20 Week Develop Your Marathon Mindset Workbook.
3. It will teach you how to combat negativity. So you forgot to grab a GU at that last aid station, or you didn't sleep a wink the night before? That's ok, you can learn how to turn those negative emotions around into something that is positive and in your control. What does that mean to you? A greater feeling of empowerment and a sense of control. See, it's all about telling yourself, "Hey, I got this. Body, just do your job."
4. Thinking ahead to race conditions will help calm you and feel prepared. The feeling of uncertainty or of not knowing what will be happening plays our fears. It increases them, it heightens our doubts, it makes us feel more pressure and takes away from our physical capacity. It stress us out! In the 20 Week Develop Your Marathon Mindset Workbook we will write out everything that may be happening on race day so that you can feel and be prepared. It will give you peace of mind.
5. Choosing a model is one of my favorite aspects of mental training. When you study a person, their characteristics, their strengths, you can become that person. You can act them. This is big for when you feel that you are getting stale. You can switch gears and suddenly become Meb winning the Boston Marathon, smoothly and steadily.
6. It will stop you from becoming your own worst critic. Think about it. If someone came to you during a race and told you they weren't going to make it, this was their worst race ever, blah, blah, you wouldn't jump all over them. You would try to build them. Do the same for yourself. Do some positive self talk! Learn how to be nice to yourself, build yourself up. Don't let your fear of failure take away from your desire to success.
7. Learn how to handle your pain through your mental training. Don't just hope it will go away. It wont so that's why it's important. You have to learn how to deal with it and how to put it to the side. Start practicing different areas to focus on when the pain begins to set in. You'll get to think about some different areas to focus on when the pain starts to set in in the 20 Week Develop Your Marathon Mindset Workbook.
So there's 7 reasons, which by the way, everything mentioned above will be coached to you to help you devise a concrete mental strategy in the Develop Your Marathon Mindset. There is more included (see it all here!) in the workbook as well but these are my favorite parts.
This workbook is going to seriously up your game and make you a much better runner. A more prepared runner. A runner who knows himself better!
Stay motivated and keep your running fresh in our Motivation for Runners Section!