July is prime-time for half-marathon and marathon training. Fall marathons are less than 5 months away, including the Williams Route 66 Marathon, which has been listed as the top race in Oklahoma, scheduled for November 19, 2017.
As you go into this season of training, it is important to get your mind in check so that you can cross the finish line with a smile. To do this, you must mentally prepare yourself months before you hit the start line and it is imperative to find a way to fit training into your schedule without becoming overwhelmed. The actual physical aspect of completing a marathon can be less of a drag if you have a positive outlook and have been consistent with your training. Most beginner runners underestimate the mental aspect of training and the time commitment it takes. There is more to it then just putting one foot in front of the other. It will take time and a can-do attitude to get it done. Here are some simple tips to keep you mentally focused and energized all the way through the finish line:
The first thing you need to do is to get into the right mindset for a race. According to researchers, the primary mental roadblock that keeps runners from reaching peak performance is negative thinking. This factor affects your training because it doesn't allow you to see possibilities and achieve your maximum potential. It also elevates your stress levels, causing muscle tension, fatigue, increased heart rate, and shallow breathing. To prevent these issues, maintain a positive attitude and seek ways to relax, such as yoga or meditation.
Imagine the way your race day will play out. Be specific and detailed. Visualize yourself at the starting line, ready to perform your best. Focus on the smallest details, such as the sounds, sights, and ambiance. See yourself crossing the finish line and celebrating success.
Expect the Unexpected
Even the best runners experience anxiety. Don't let fear stand in your way! Think about the worst case scenario and be mentally prepared to face any issues that may occur. Try to figure out how you will proceed in case something goes wrong. Consider unexpected events, such as missing a water stop, feeling sick, or shoes coming undone.
Find Your Inner Drive
Make sure you run for the right reasons. Set a clear goal and focus on the end result. Don't join a race or marathon to impress your family and friends. This is something you should do for yourself. The goal you have in mind should be personal and self-fulfilling, such as improving your fitness or challenging yourself.
Stay Committed to Your Goals
Training for a marathon or any race isn't just about the physical challenge. It also tests your ability to stick with a plan and overcome obstacles. Take "quit" out of the equation and stay committed to your goals. It takes work to perform at any level, however, if you have a goal in mind, sticking to a training schedule and program is what will help you achieve your goal. Consistency is key!
*Fleet Feet Tulsa have training groups and programs for various distances. Training for Williams Route 66 5k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon starts July 10. Visit Fleet Feet Tulsa training program page for more details.
Kelly, Erin. (2015). The 50 Best Races in America, State-by-State.