Mental Skills for Racing Auckland Marathon

Running a marathon is more than just a physical endeavor. It’s a mental battle that challenges your endurance, resilience, and determination. While the physical training aspect is crucial, honing in on your mental skills is just as important if not essential for you to get through training and race day itself!

Most often, we get through the big runs, tick off all the other runs, and then overthink during taper week, where the mind goes into overdrive with thoughts of, Have I done enough? my leg hurts? Etc All those crazy mental thoughts flood our brains leaving us no time to truly chill out!

Having ‘tools’ to draw upon during those ‘mental’ moments, can help us in so many ways. Calms the mind, settles the body, and allows us to truly respect the taper week and give our bodies the rest it deserves to fully prepare ourselves for the big day.


Mental Skills for your toolbox:

Respect your Final Taper week:

this is a chance to reflect on all your training runs and things you have learnt throughout your training block. Look at all the positives not just the negatives (no run is ever perfect) but we shouldn’t dwell on the negatives either. Don’t overstress yourself with other things, continue to hydrate, and fuel your body.

Visualization/Positive Self-Talk:

This is a powerful tool to adopt during training as well as throughout the race. Imagining yourself completing the marathon successfully. Visualize the hard moments but pushing through that fatigue and crossing the finish line. By mentally rehearsing your success you can create a positive mindset and enhance your self-belief. Sometimes thinking about someone from your past or present can help too. Bring them into that visualization and imagine them right there with you, supporting and encouraging you. What would they say?

Having certain mantras can also provide comfort especially in those times of discomfort. The positive that comes from this can turn moments of fatigue into a chance to showcase that mental strength you have built upon. Mantras don’t have to be lengthy – just a short sentence – write on your arm, repeat it repeatedly.

Focusing on the things we can control vs things we can’t

this helps conserve energy. Those worries, fears and anxieties are all valid but we need to let them go. This is one of the beauties of having a coach. They will guide you around this, listen to you, and remind you that this is normal but to also put it into perspective – you have done the training, you are ready! Letting go of false expectations puts more power into what you can control and removes that pressure!

Trust your training and run your own race

This is so important. You have trained hard, have your own processes – this is your race and it’s important to stick with the plan you have discussed with your coach. Don’t compare yourself with others. Trust your training and preparation. This confidence will serve as your anchor during the race, helping you stay focused and composed.

Race day support

Having friends and family there on race day can really give your spirit that emotional lift it may need. Even strangers yelling out your name can help. Smile – smiling can help – give it a go!

A strong mind is the ultimate companion on your marathon journey. By incorporating these mental skills into your training you can be sure to wake up on race day feeling both physically and mentally ready for whatever the day may present.


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