Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mental Preparedness

In 3 days I will be running the Andrew Jackson Marathon.  I have trained somewhat with speed work, high mileage weeks, and one or two longish runs, but I have not thought about it as much as I usually think about an upcoming marathon.  Usually, I do quite a bit of mental training to go along with my physical training.

I picture it.  I imagine getting tired and pushing through it.  I imagine feeling good enough to kick it up at mile 20.  I imagine seeing the clock say what I want it to say and hearing Jason's cheer for me.  I imagine holding pace and feeling strong.  I make a strategy and prepare to stick to it.

But I have done very little mental training despite the fact that I would like to take a few minutes off my latest 3:45 finishing time.  I'm not looking for another 13 minute leap, just a few minutes.  My friend, Katie and I talked quite a bit about this on our run this morning.  We are both facing a marathon this weekend, and for different and similar reasons we are unsure what to expect from ourselves. 

Here is what I'm thinking:

My Doubt List
  • I only got in a 15 miler and a 20 miler as far as long runs go.  Usually I would get in more.
  • Can I really expect another PR in just 2 months?  
  • I have not mentally prepared as I usually do...will that make a difference?

My Confidence Building List
  • I was not used up after Mercedes.  I felt pretty good for a 13-minute PR.
  • I've been doing speed work and pushing my weekly runs hard.
  • High mileage weeks despite few long runs.
  • A good half-marathon in Seaside.
  • The Andrew Jackson course is not as tough as the Mercedes Marathon course.
  • Maybe I will be more rested for this one due to less intense training...

The latter list is the one on which I am trying to focus and it is the most fun to populate.   Overall, I've been looking forward to this marathon because I simply like to run them, this one has history, and I am very excited to witness my dear friend, Shannon, run her first ever marathon.  I have had the honor of being her training buddy, we've bounced ideas and strategies off each other, and I cannot wait to be there when she crosses that finish line. 

So I guess there is nothing left to do except use these next few days to do some mental preparing, trust my training such as it is, and start the race.  I'm hopeful, but also content with the current PR for now.  So either way, I think a good time will be had by all and that will be my prayer!


  1. I really needed that one! I have been trying to prepare mentally but wasn't really sure how. I will do what you suggested over the next few days!

    I was reading my new Runner's World last night and saw a "mantra" this one runner says before a big race. It was "I am ready, I am prepared!" Since I've been tapering I have been having thoughts of "Can I really run 26.2miles?" and "Can I go as fast as I think I can?" and lately "Oh no, it's gonna be hot!" So I have been trying to remember how long and hard I have trained but it is hard to let those negative thoughts go!

    Anyway, if you can still meet for lunch tomorrow I would love that. If not, I'll give you a call tomorrow night!

  2. I too have been somewhat concerned about the temp, but I think we will be fine. YOU will be fine...and do awesome! So don't listen to those doubts. You can run 26.2 miles, and you can run it as fast as you think you can. I KNOW this! And I am excited about it.

    I like that mantra. I think I'll use it these next few days. And eat and extra reeses for a boost. :)

    I can still do lunch!

  3. I loved your two lists on this one. It's true that we tend to weigh our pros and cons and try to see if we think we can do it. It was great talking over the mental aspect of marathoning on yesterday's run. I know you will do great on Saturday!

  4. And I will be sending you strong marathon thoughts and prayers on Sunday!