i got this email from the 1/2 marathon training online program i signed up for. how relevant!
Tip 17 by Jenny Hadfield.
How can I do this? How is my body going to go the distance if we don't go that far in training? How do I get rid of that little voice that whispers in my ear - stop, you can't do this, just hang up your shoes and go to Starbucks, you're doomed - Are these some of your thoughts during training?
Although it may seem that physical training is the key to a successful race, it is the mental fitness that is the foundation that supports everything you do. As with the physical, mental fitness grows through experience and time.
Your mind is the control room for your body. If the guys in the tower and transmitting negative signals, guess what will happen to your race? If however, you have an intervention with the guys in the tower and tell them there is a paradigm shift and we need to send out positive signals, you will run or walk and smile and your efforts will be much easier.
If you have a run-in with a negative thought during your training or in the race worry about finishing - simple take a deep breath, and focus on all the good things that you've done this far.
Relax - If you are having a rough day, slow your pace and mentally focus on taking it one step at a time. If you are having a great day, take notes on what your thoughts are during the workout.
Every run can be joyful if you quiet the voices and tune in to what is going on around you and how far you've come.
Now, how the heck are you going to reach that finish line if you haven't gone the distance in training? Your body will be well rested and well trained for the race. Your mental fitness will take over when your body starts to fade (if it starts to fade).
A good adventure racing friend of mine once told me - you can't eat an elephant in one bite, but if you eat it one bite at a time it is do-able.
I use that in every event I race. If you stand at the starting line thinking - "Okay, only 13.1 to go, that can be a daunting and intimidating thought. It will seem like a VERY long way. But if you chop it up into smaller, more digestible pieces, then it becomes a series of finish lines.
You can break it in half, in quarters or one kilometer at a time. You can even break the race into geographical locations along the route. The key is to surrender to the fact you will be out there for a few hours and then develop a mental plan with shorter goals.
If you are a run-walker you already have a plan. Focus on the next 4 or 5 minutes and soon you'll be half-way done.
Take care of yourself nutritionally. If you get low on blood sugar your mind is the first to fade. That is an invitation to negatives thoughts. Drink your sports drink along the route 6-8 ounces (one cup) every 15- 20 minutes. Take a few jolly ranchers with you or walkers who will be out there longer take a few snack size Snickers. All of these will bring your mind back into the race.
If things get tough for you - use this trick. Think about how you want to feel after the race is over. Do you want to feel proud and excited about what you've just accomplished or sad about the outcome of the race.
When things get tough for me in races, I think about how things could be worse than they are. I could be running "up" a mountain, or in sand, or not feeling well, or I could have just sat on a cactus while trying to go to the bathroom. It can always be worse.
Have faith in your preparation and believe you can do it. Surrender to the unknown and enjoy every step you take. The training is your journey, the race is simply the celebration!