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Tales from the Grateful Runner...

Recapping Mental Training for the Marathon Coalition TEAM

Mental training is about developing the discipline to handle all the challenges that are bound to come your way during training and the marathon. Sport psychology is based off the paradigm of “Think>Feel>Perform” – the way you think about a situation will affect how you feel about it and your feelings with influence your performance….consequently, your performance will then dictate your thoughts, etc….it becomes one big cycle

Identify specific goals you want to achieve for each run – your goals should be SMART – specific, measureable, adjustable, realistic, and time-oriented. Also, be sure to set positive goals for yourself – for example, setting a goal to “power up each hill with good form” is far more effective than setting a goal “to not feel fatigued and run with poor form up the hill”

Identify a purpose for why you are running. The charity you are raising money for is a major factor that will define your training, but you need to have a true internal motive to keep your drive moving forward

Coping with Adversity – every run will provide you with an opportunity to overcome adversity. Even if you don’t succeed 100% with the issues and challenges you face, you should take the time to think about why you struggled and how you can handle the adversity moving forward

The power of a positive mindset suggests that our mind will work towards what it is told to do. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain positive thoughts and expectations for each run. Feeling nervous before a long run is completely normal. However, viewing the nerves as a sign of excitement, rather than a sign of being ill-prepared, will help you maintain your positivity and optimism throughout each training run and the marathon. Look at each and every run as a challenge rather than a threat. The power of positive thinking can help runners overcome perceived limitations. Make sure your positivity is based in reality rather than wishful thinking. A simple, yet powerful positive trigger can make the impossible become possible

Developing pre-run routines is a great way to stay focused, feel balanced, and gain a sense of control over your training. Feeling like you have everything in order prior to a run will help you feel more organized and ready to go. Do not let the routine become a superstition. In these cases, you end up being controlled by the routine, as opposed to controlling the routine yourself

Picturing yourself successfully completing your training runs is a very powerful mental skill. Take the time to visualize success for each and every upcoming run. Be sure to keep your images positive as you don’t want to fall into the trap of visualizing failure. Also, develop clear and controllable images and incorporate all the 5 senses into your imagery sessions. This can help create a more realistic vision of what you’ll experience on marathon day

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