Switching from physical to mental marathon prep

I didn’t really intend to go on another 2-hour treadmill run Friday, but the weather was crappier than expected and I didn’t want to risk falling on ice this close to the marathon. So I just went nice and slow, around a 12-minute-per-mile pace, logging 10 miles while watching “Iron Man 2.”

Then on Saturday I followed that up with a 5-mile indoor lap run, and that’s about it, really. The rest of this week I’m going to take it easy,  just running enough to stay loose while I focus on mental preparation.

On both runs I tried focusing not on my intended duration or destination, but on what a small piece of the larger whole I was working on. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to say, “I’m just going to run the first 2 hours of the marathon” rather than, “I’m going to chain myself to this treadmill for 2 hours.” It went much more quickly than 2 previous efforts – perhaps because “Iron Man 2” has way more action than “The Great Gatsby” and better villains than “Iron Man 3.”

On past shorter lap runs I’ve sometimes struggled because I expected them to be so easy that I never got dialed in mentally. On Saturday, even as I counted off 40 laps from 1809 to 1849, I kept casting my mind forward. “It takes a while to get through the 19th century,” I told myself. “And then the 20th century will take even longer, but it gets more familiar the farther I go.”

One thing I DID NOT DO was dwell on how crappy I felt at times, and how it might feel to struggle at such an early point in Sunday’s race. Here’s what I came up with for that:

“The first 50 laps are for working the kinks out. Any struggles I have during that part of the race DO NOT MEAN I’m already tired and struggling – it just means I haven’t gotten loose yet.”

Sound plausible? That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. (I hope!)

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3 Responses to Switching from physical to mental marathon prep

  1. Good plan! Can I steal that line for my next half? It’d be perfect for that 15KM/9M marker, when I can’t take one more minute of running.

  2. runner1313 says:

    When and where is your race?

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