Continuing from Train for the Steamboat Marathon Part 2 or 4, I finished an 18-mile run! I feel accomplished but tired, both physically and mentally. I have been preparing for Steamboat Marathon for weeks now, by adding more mileage or more time, so my runs are getting longer and harder.

Last Saturday I knew I had to run this 18-miler, so I prepared myself over the entire week. I got my shoes ready, the right music, and the perfect route in mind. I prepared all my nutrition for the run, and even knew which socks I would wear. Planning for the run every day of the week helped get me mentally ready for the challenge.

At the start of the run, I knew it was not going to be easy, but I start every run with a positive mindset: “It’s going to be awesome,” I said to myself.

Here I go! Three miles done, piece of cake. Six miles done, and feeling good. My music is awesome and I am hydrating. Yes, my feet are starting to feel a little tired, but overall it is all good. At eight miles, I started to feel my muscles, and my mind was gaining power telling me I shouldn’t continue because of the pain. But I fought back and stopped myself. “No, I am okay!”

By mile 11, my mind started to play more tricks on me: “I can’t do this, I am tired, why I am doing this? Wow, I am so hungry right now I could eat a huge burger.” LOL! I was so tempted to call my husband and ask him to come pick me up. But I knew at the end of the day, I would have been mad at myself for letting the negative thoughts win. I fought back with positive self-talk, and I got myself through it.

Tips for Reaching Your Goal

During a marathon, like here in Steamboat, or even a half marathon, everybody experiences highs and lows. I talk with my own personal coach on a weekly basis, and she gives me great tips that I want to share with all of you:

  1. Pace yourself! Start slower than your average pace. Each quarter of a mile, go ahead and run a little bit faster. If you start to feel too tired too quick, back off some and try again at the beginning of the next quarter mile.
  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Sometimes I am hard on myself because I want to do well, I have been training hard, and I simply want to finish strong. But things don’t always go according to plan. Ask yourself “Am I doing okay?” If you answer yes, then yes, you will be okay.
  3. Positive self-talk! Your mind can wander into the land of negative thinking, so use positive mantras or quotes to change your mindset. Three of my favorite mantras are: “I am strong,” “I am happy,” “I am running for people who can’t.” Find mantras that motivate you, and use them constantly.
  4. Remember hydration and nutrition! Especially as you increase your pace so your energy levels don’t drop.
  5. Training continues for another 5 weeks, and there will be more highs and lows ahead. I will fight through each low as it comes. I hope your next weeks of training go well, and you can get through your mental challenges too.

Contact me if you need help coming up with mantras or strategies to finish mentally strong :)

Guest Blogger: Marietta Roberts