Marathon Psychological Training

The Hardest Part


 I have been doing a lot of thinking in regards to the last 12 km of my marathon. Do not get me wrong not one part of the race is going to be easy but the last 12 km are the ones that you really have to dig deep for.

When I did my half marathon my psychological training program was based on three areas:

  1. Mental rehearsal and visualization
  2. Imagery
  3. Self-Talk

This is all solely based on the internal struggle associated with endurance running or really any tasks that may take a little extra motivation to get through. 



I realized how much your brain plays a role in my last marathon.  The last 12 km were a race all on there own.  I had been so worried about being physical prepared that I lacked the psychological training I would usually do prior to the race. This time I am going to be prepared.  I have ten days to get my head ready for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon.

I always encourage myself to try doing things out of my comfort zone as I find that is a big area that helps me build my psychological strength.  This past couple weeks I have joined a Barre study doing two to three classes per week. WOW is Barre a challenge! Every class is different as I am still very new to it all and boy do I ever have to self talk to get through.  Prior to Barre i thought my legs were strong… I ran a marathon, how hard can Barre be right? WRONG! My legs shake and by shake I mean REALLY shake.  They have a mind of their own and almost bounce right off the floor. Although this is getting easier I spend that hour two to three times a week talking myself into keep going.

Now back to running! For this mental training plan I broke my goals into two categories: process and outcome goals. Process goals are based on the training where outcome goals focus more on race day.



Process Goals:

  1. Stick to my training plan
    1. Yoga (Once  a week)
    2. Cross Training (twice a week)
    3. Running 3 times weekly (minimum)
      1. Pace
      2. Hill
      3. Long Run
    4. Proper Tapering

      1. 80% Two weeks out
      2. 25-30% Three weeks out
  2. Eat healthy consistently 
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Read before I go to bed
  5. Smile while I run

Outcome Goals:

  1. Breaking four hours in the marathon
  2. Consistent Pace (5:20)

Now how am I going to complete this?

  1. Smile Reminders every km 😁
  2. Self talk
    1. Reminding myself I can do it
    2. If it was easy everyone would do it
    3. If i quit i will be disappointed in myself
    4. The last ten percent in the hardest
    5. In one more hour this run will be done
  3. Pre set music list
    1. Motivational tunes every 3rd song
      1. Fight Song
      2. Believe
      3. Dog days are over
    2. Good sing along songs
    3. The last 6.2 preset as the song list from my loved ones
  4. Visualization
    1. Picture myself running the marathon
    2. Picture the finish line
    3. Picture how amazing its going to feel to finish
    4. Picture all my cheerleaders in the sidelines
    5. Picture my grandparents cheering for me at the end
  5. Imagery
    1. Imagine I am prepping for the Olympics as top runner
    2. Imagine that running is effortless
    3. Imagine being the first in the race

So that’s my plan! Hope it helps you if you are trying to work on mental preparation for a race! If you have any tips they are always appreciated! 

And don’t forget If it were easy everyone would do it!  ❤️❤️

*Photographer credits: BMO Vancouver Marathon Marathon Foto and Lee Symborski

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