When ever I meet up with Cath we have so much to talk about that we can’t fit it all in! This catch up was no exception.
Cath is training for the New York Marathon and is doing amazingly. She is up to 17 miles on her long runs and she still has a couple of months to go. I have run 9 marathons and lots of half marathons so I have plenty of experience of what she is going through with her training routine.
The hours that need to be dedicated to the training really do make an impact on your life. Rather than nipping out for a 30 minute session, and being showered and ready to get on with the rest of your life within the hour, a decent run takes up 3 or 4 hours of your day.
Having Noah I have decided that at the moment I don’t want to dedicate this amount of time to running but in the past I totally loved it and did it happily. Cath is not loving the training so much. She keeps saying that once she has done this marathon she is never running again!
Taking on a marathon is a big deal. It certainly requires some preparation. Running enough miles each week is important but preparing mentally is just as vital.
Thinking of some coping mechanisms is a great way to chill out about the challenge ahead. Here are some of my top mindful tips…
1) Try getting into a routine where you meditate before you run. It doesn’t need to be for long. Just 2 or 3 minutes of calming your breath before you start could make all the difference to how your body performs when you get going. If you learn to relax your body through doing this regularly then if panic kicks in on race day you will have the tools to cope.
2) Positive thinking really can make all the difference. Get a positive thought ready for low moments on your run. I like to imagine that feeling I will have when I cross the finish line. If you have this thought already in mind it will be easier to recreate when you need it most.
3) Have a plan. I always liked to run negative splits. This means running the first half of the marathon slower than the second half. This has the amazing benefit that you are forcing yourself to slow down for the first half so you feel strong. In the second half you hopefully get to the stage where you are overtaking the people that set off too fast and this can give you a real feeling of accomplishment, you know you are on track.
4) Encourage others. You will be amazed how good it makes you feel if you encourage another runner. Tell them they are doing well. If they are walking encourage them to join you. Taking on that role of motivating someone else will work wonders for your own motivation.
5) If worries start to kick in whilst you are running remember to be present in the moment. What are you actually feeling in that moment. If you have a pain in your body then place all your attention in that area, examine it and really focus on it. Before you know it your mind will have wandered and will be elsewhere. You can do this time and time again. No more focussing on the pain. If a thought keeps coming back to haunt you simply label it as a thought and go back to focussing on the running. Again you can do this time and time again.
Once you get your head round the challenge ahead there will be no holding you back! To learn some meditation techniques to set you up for the big day, get in touch and organise a Revitalise Mindfulness Session. The session will be tailored to your individual circumstances and really will give you a head start, what ever your challenge.