minutes per mile blog

3 mental approaches to the marathon

Morning!Court_house_arlington1Another short run this morning just to keep the legs fresh and mind focused. All I think is “8-minute mile, 8-minute mile, 8-minute mile.” Now I just have to make my legs do it 26.2 times and we should be good to go.

(also, local readers: Have you ever eaten at Jerry’s subs? It looks gross but the neon sign always calls to me.)Court_house_arlingtonYes, a steady 8-minute-mile pace is my goal for the marathon this weekend, but it’s only a “soft” goal. I don’t really have a goal for the race other than to run and have FUN.

I used to set “hard” goals for marathons and judge myself as a runner if I met them on race day. Since having a coach, though, my attitude toward running has really changed and I’m not putting as much pressure on this marathon as I might have five months ago. Here are a few ways I’m mentally approaching the marathon this weekend, which highlight a new mindset that I think makes me a happier runner and person:

  1. Anything can happen. Whereas in the past I (stubbornly) considered each marathon equal, I am coming to accept now that a lot of race day is out of my control. Temperature, crowds, terrain, wind, etc. — all of these can impact my performance and I have to make pace/goal adjustments according to my surroundings. Ex: If it hails, someone spills baby oil all over the roads, and ten people are running with strollers right in front of me at the start line, I can’t beat myself up at the end for finishing five minutes slower. It’s just part of the game.
  2. I’m a runner, not a marathoner. This is a big one. Before I hired a coach, my only real assessment of my fitness level and running performance was on race day — particularly, on marathon race day. I mildly cared about how I did in half marathons and didn’t even bother with shorter races. At track, I didn’t set goals. Now, though, I have mini-goals to reach on the track every week, and a new enthusiasm for 5ks and half marathons. Since I’ve seen myself set and overcome these shorter goals each week and witnessed my track times improve over the past five months, I know that I’m a stronger runner than I was before — and I don’t need to prove it at the marathon this weekend. I’m not just a marathoner anymore, I’m a runner! Which means one silly 26.2 mile race is only part of my running resume.
  3. Stay focused and listen. Since I do set mini-goals every week and try to meet them, I’ve practiced how to focused and listen to my body. It’s sort of a “zen” feeling that’s difficult to explain, but the repetitive reps on the track, progression runs, and striders have forced me to become more in tune with my pace and physical state. Instead of thinking in negative thoughts, becoming disengaged, or over-thinking this marathon, I’m just going to apply the same focus I keep on the track to stay in tune and on pace.

So. Have I told you how excited I am to run through the streets I’ve trained on for the past four years? This race is going to be FUN and I think I have a good chance at kicking its butt (unless that stroller/oil/hail scenario actually plays out).

Speaking of fun — remember the Chevy Drive the District blogger dinner I went to a while back? Well, I met two ladies there and we decided to merge some more friends together for a book club. We had our first meeting on Thursday night!guns_germs_steel_1We met at SEI to drink numerous glasses of wine while discussing Guns, Germs, and Steel, a classic non-fiction book that Catherine picked. Yes, that’s Laetitia from French Twist DC on the right :)1-photo_1-001Guns, Germs, and Steel was quite interesting, but if I had to be honest it was a bit too dry for me. Our next read is The Book Thief which is righhhhht up my alley. Yay. (I just discovered the bold font on my blog program if you can’t tell.)

The joy of internet friendships continued when I met up with Sophie and Megan last night at my favorite bar.1-DSC03740Blog friends are great because you already know way too much about each other’s lives and it’s like you’ve been BFFs for years.

Go enjoy your weekend!

  • What is your mental approach to running/racing?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • Random. If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?

Of (fun) interest:

13 thoughts on “3 mental approaches to the marathon

    • ah, i think we are full for now! we are trying to keep it under 8 people. i think Meetup.com and craigslist both have a lot of book club listings though… happy reading!

  1. You will do amazing! You are way faster than I am! My mental approach is there is always going to be someone faster than me but I’m doing this for myself. It’s a race with myself to see how much faster and stronger I can become. And duh- Ryan Gosling. :)

  2. You seem to be in an awesome place to tackle MCM this weekend. I’m super excited to help cheer you on!

    Also – lemme know about the next book, I’ve been dying to hop into a book club!