I have never and will never claim to know everything there is to know about marathon running or positive self-talk. However, I will tell you all that I completed my first marathon approximately three weeks ago and I attribute the fact that I was able to run the entire five hour duration to the fact that I kicked out any ounce of self-doubt that came inching its way into my brain throughout the entire race. My mantra: “the more you run, the faster you’re done.” And let me tell you… it worked!
Yes, the physical preparation and training that goes into running and completing a marathon is extremely important. If you ever speak with someone who did not train properly, I assure you they will not suggest it. While they may have still been able to complete the distance, I’m sure they were hurting like heck for many, many days following.
As for me, the physical training helped a TON! The biggest advantage the training gave to me was the ability to recover quickly. I was walking normal with little to no soreness within a day or two of the race, and considering I was out of commission for over a week after my half marathon last year, I’d say that was amazing!
But if I am going to be 100% honest — when you’re hitting 16+ in mileage the day of the race, the last thing I was thinking was how thankful I was that I ran 22 miles two weekends prior to help me prepare for this. 26.2 miles is an insane distance, regardless of if you’ve run 20 miles, 18 miles, or 22 miles beforehand, 26.2 is still an incredibly feat. What I will say, is that 22 miles in long runs will begin to prepare you mentally for an extreme distance. My most solid bit of advice to anyone considering running a marathon, practice your positive self-talk BEFORE race day!
Use training runs not only to practice form, build up endurance, and test out wardrobe/ fueling decisions. Use the training runs to practice mentally amping yourself up and talking yourself into being able to exceed to distances you never imagined possible. I would never have been able to cross that finish line without talking myself up, exciting myself mentally, telling myself I could do it, and using my mantra, “the more you run, the faster it’s done.” (Feel free to use this – it worked miracles for me!).
MENTAL STRENGTH is key! Practice makes perfect. Begin now, take any goal you’ve been struggling to accomplish and every day tell yourself you CAN do it! You CAN complete this goal and you WILL make it to the ‘finish line.’ Because let me tell you, I was doubtful… standing there at the start line at 7:30am on November 20th, I did not think I was going to make it. I thought I was going to fail and I was going to let down all my family and friends who had been routing me on for the last six months. Then I did a little bit of thinking and I remembered what wise runners had told me all along. If you can mentally finish the distance, your body will follow.