The Marathon Mindset
Talk to any seasoned endurance athlete and they will tell you that you must have the right mindset to run a competitive marathon. Thorough preparation is the key to helping you establish a positive mindset; nevertheless, once the big day arrives, there are a few extra tips that can help you reach the finish line in record time:
- Think happy thoughts - it makes a big difference if you can maintain a positive mental attitude throughout a run. In fact, research has found that providing positive feedback actually improves running efficiency.1 Many top endurance athletes visualise conquering the heartbreaking hills and pushing through to the end before the day arrives, and then bring that imagery to mind when the going gets tough.
- Bite sized chunks - marathons may seem long and daunting, however breaking them down mentally into ‘bite-sized’ chunks (e.g. four 10 km sections) makes the distance appear far more manageable than one giant 42.2 km slog.
- Take it easy - a number of high profile marathoners recommend maintaining an easier pace for the first 20 km and then steadily increasing the pace towards the end. You don’t want to burn through your energy stores early in the race, which is a common mistake among inexperienced athletes.
- Distract yourself - run to the rhythm of a song; sing the lyrics in your mind; recite inspiring quotes (one word per step); enjoy the scenery; use positive self-talk; focus on running to the next rise, post, tree, or competitor. You seem to cover more distance with less effort when you distract yourself from the pain and exhaustion of the long haul.
Running a marathon is both physically and mentally taxing. To conquer a marathon it’s not enough to be physically prepared, you also need to master the marathon mindset.
Get Expert Advice
The rate of performance improvement accelerates when it is both measured and reported on. However, with many things in life, if you want to develop an ability you should seek advice from someone who has been there before. Maybe you need some technical advice to improve your running technique and reduce the risk of injury; or perhaps some additional motivation would help you maintain your training schedule in tougher times like, during the dark, wet and cold winter months. A running coach or running club may make all the difference by providing the support and advice you need to achieve your goals, or to add a social aspect to a sometimes solitary sport. There are a number of good running clubs and coaches around, simply search online to find one that is close by and that fits your schedule and lifestyle. If you are passionate about your running and you want to reach your sporting potential, get some expert advice and watch your performance accelerate.
Maintaining Motivation for Marathon Preparation
Preparation is absolutely vital for a marathon, however it can be challenging maintaining the motivation you require to achieve optimal physical condition due to the consistent time and effort you need to invest. Here are three effective tips to help you stay on track for your up and coming event:
- Set SMART goals - a SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound (e.g. “In preparation for my first marathon, I will complete a half marathon during the Brisbane Marathon Festival in three months”). By setting SMART goals you drastically increase your likelihood of achieving them. Once you have set your goals, write them down and place them where you can see them every day. Tell people you trust to help encourage you and keep you accountable.
- Prioritise a balanced schedule - obtain a diary and set a schedule that you can both commit to and stick to. Where possible make your top priority your training sessions and arrange everything else around them. Make sure your schedule includes sufficient time for training each week (experts suggest 4 training sessions per week), balanced with enough time for the other important areas of your life, i.e. family, work, study, etc.
- Enlist support - remaining motivated is easier when you have support. Find a good coach, join a running club, or at the very least enlist a friend you can train with to help keep you accountable and provide encouragement along the way. There is strength in numbers, especially when preparing for a marathon.
By setting SMART goals, prioritising an appropriate training regime and seeking support, you are giving yourself the best shot of staying on track and reaching your marathon milestone.
Achieving Your Goals with Endura
There are many important aspects to consider when preparing for a marathon, but protecting your health and optimising performance should be top priorities. Your body requires carbohydrates and electrolytes for energy and hydration, to preserve and enhance your performance during endurance sports. Endura Sports Nutrition products are specifically formulated to help keep you firing over the long haul, providing well absorbed carbs and ideal ratios of electrolytes. It is important to practice taking your hydration and energy formulas many times before race day, to get the timing right, identify what your body responds best to and to prevent unpleasant digestive upset on race day . Without adequate hydration and fuel you may become dehydrated, your muscles may cramp and you risk not being able to go the distance.
Endura Sports Nutrition utilise high quality ingredients in carefully designed formulas to help maximise your sporting potential. Endura Rehydration Performance Fuel, Endura Sports Energy Gels and Endura Optimizer together offer fuel and hydration solutions. Performance Fuel is a rehydration formula to help maintain active hydration, while Endura Gels offer you an energy source in a convenient single serve sachet. Endura Optimizer is an all-in-one race and recovery formula containing carbs, electrolytes and protein. Endura Optimizer helps conserve muscle mass and provides additional fuel and electrolytes before, during and after the race. The Endura Race Guide (see Figure 1) outlines the best way to utilise each of these products. If you are serious about achieving your marathon goals, remember, Endura Sports Nutrition will help you train harder, race faster and recover quicker! Try Endura today.