In just 2 short weeks I will be starting a new marathon training cycle. Of course, this isn’t my first rodeo as I’ve done this several times in the past but this time I’m going into it with a new mindset and focus.
In many ways I think my change of mindset is due to being a Mom. It’s taught me so much more not only about myself but about the importance of things in life. Running my goal would be great, but at the end of the day as long as I have my family that’s all that matters.
I love to run, I love to set goals, and I plan to continue that as long as possible but this time around I am looking at it from a different mindset.
In 2 weeks I will begin all that comes with a marathon training cycle – long runs, tempo runs, speed workouts, effort based training, paced based training, strength work, etc. I will challenge my body in more ways that one and I hope that come December I’ll be able to run a new personal best!
That being said here are a few ways I am beginning to mentally prepare for a new marathon cycle:
Remember I am what I think I am. For years I have been guilty of negative self talk. I can’t tell you how many times during other training cycles I’ll find myself thinking “there is no way you will ever hit that pace”, “you are so slow today”, or “I was stupid for setting this goal.”
You see running is 85-90% mental. At the end of the day if you don’t believe that you can do it then you won’t. I’ve been on both extremes. For my first BQ in December 2014, I was so mentally there and believed every step of the way and guess what – I achieved my goal! However; my next cycle for the Chicago Marathon in 2015 left me feeling down on myself, frustrated, and I missed my goal by a long shot.
This doesn’t mean that even if you believe you won’t fail. No, you can still fall short but if you don’t have the dream, drive, and believe that YOU can do it then it won’t happen. Focusing on my positive and strong mindset is key for me this time around.
Focus on others. I was talking to my friend Meridith the other day and she was telling me how much easier it was for her to train and run hard when she turned her focus to others. I did this the other day on my track workout and it helped tremendously.
Instead of focusing on the task at hand I think about others, pray for others, and find joy in the relationships that I have in my life. It takes the focus off yourself and even though it may sounds a bit cheesy, I urge you to give it a try!
Refusing to take it too seriously. Remember at the end of the day – it’s just running. I’m more than happy to admit in the past (and sometimes I still catch myself) taking running too seriously. I’m no professional athlete nor will I ever be. Running makes me happy and at the end of the day big goals or not I do it because I enjoy it!
If you can’t find the joy in running then there will be no way to truly being in a good mental state for your marathon training cycle.
Learning to train different and keeping an open mind. This training cycle will require different kinds of training than I have done in the past, BUT in many ways it is going to make it so much more fun! Since the stroller will play a large part in my running I have to do different types of workouts that fit the stroller into it.
I keep an open mind each day and while I may have a prescribed workout, sometimes it may get switched around, edited, or just cut all together. I still do my best to get in what I need but going into it with an open mind that sometimes I’ll have to work around it.
Switching up your training is great to help you stay mentally healthy during training.
Celebrate the small gains. It’s no secret that in the beginning of marathon training sometimes the pace can feel a bit daunting. You’d be surprised just how much that can change in 12-14 weeks (depending on how long your training plan is).
It’s important along the way to celebrate the small gains. It’s often said it can take 2 weeks to see the benefits from a workout but as the weeks progress you’ll begin to see that certain workouts don’t feel that hard anymore. Celebrate those small victories! It’s not all about the finish line.
Marathon training can seem overwhelming when you look at the big picture, but if you focus on one day at a time you can learn to truly enjoy the process and find just as much fun in the training as the race!
What is the next race on your calendar?