Mentally Preparing for Long Distance Running
By Kai Morris
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”- Benjamin Franklin
Runners often prepare to a high level with their physical fitness, often developing training routines, such as the one my colleague Joshua McCabe suggested. However, often the mental side of preparation gets left out. Mental preparation, alongside your physical preparation, will give you the best shot at achieving your goal, no matter what it is.
Long distance running is a challenge! There is no doubt that it puts you under a level of stress and discomfort, which is why below are four tips to help you mentally prepare for the Bridge to Brisbane to manage this discomfort!
1. Know your ‘why’
Write down or have a think about why you are competing in the Bridge to Brisbane. Whether it is to have fun, to push yourself, or for your health and fitness, your ‘WHY’ will be your anchor when times get tough. Coming back to your ‘WHY’ can help you persist through the tough times in a race, and give you a reason to put up with pain and discomfort!
Remember, it is YOUR ‘why’, so make sure it is related to you.
2. Have a race plan
Break the race down into small, manageable pieces, such as 2km blocks. Have an understanding of the route (e.g., hills and flats) and develop a plan for what you should focus on in that particular part of the race. Small manageable pieces help keep our minds on the job, and give us something to focus on when times get tough.
For the first part of the race I will work my way into the race, keeping pace at 5min/km as it is flat. The second part of the race is quite hilly, so I will try and conserve my energy to get through it and keep my pace at 6min/km.
3. Have a mind plan
“It is not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you down, it’s the pebble in your shoe” – Muhammad Ali
Develop a plan to manage your pebbles when they show up, as no doubt there will be some pebbles along the way! Pebbles could look like negative self-talk, hills, feeling fatigue, cramping, starting to rain etc. If we plan for them, when they show up we 1) Know what they are, and 2) Know how to manage them! Answer these questions:
What are your potential pebbles or trigger points?
E.g., Around the 5km mark my mind tells me to stop, it is too tough
What are you going to do to manage your trigger points/pebbles?
E.g., Turn my attention onto the crowd and what I can see or say to myself “Keep working”.
4. Enjoy it
You have done the planning and preparation, last one is simple…just enjoy the race, have some fun, and remember your ‘why’. If you would like some assistance developing an individual plan and strategies to manage your pebbles, contact us to book an appointment.