Another great way to keep your mind set positive when the running gets tough is to have your own personal cue words. For my first marathon, I had “Come on kid, this is your dream” written on my arm in sharpie. I’d seen it on a meme earlier in the week and it spoke to me. Whenever I felt myself flagging and thinking in a negative way, I looked at my arm and repeated the phrase in my head. Find a word or phrase that you relate to. It might be something motivational like “I am strong” or it might be a phrase related to your running form such as, “Head up, hips high” to prompt you to snap out of your temporary slump.
Break the distance up
There are no two ways about it long distance running in races as in training…unsurprisingly…our very long ways! The distance stretching out before you from your front door or on the start line can feel overwhelming. Mentally it can really help to break the distance down into smaller chunks and simply focus on each one at a time. Some people like to break the distance into 10ks, others prefer to just focus on the single mile that they are in. The key is to celebrate achieving the distance you choose when you complete it and then let it go. If it was a bad mile once it’s finished it is gone. Don’t spend time and energy worrying about it, focus on the new fresh mile ahead.
New running kit can make you feel a million bucks but if you don’t wear items in carefully then it’ll make you feel rather less so afterwards! Especially before a race, it’s a good idea to test out the outfit you plan on running in on a long run to make sure nothing irritates you, rides up or chafes. Make sure to ‘lube up’ with Vaseline or Bodyglide on any spots that might chafe (think inner thighs, under your arms, toes…) DO NOT wear a new outfit on race day, no matter how pretty that new top is. Confession – after running the Chicago marathon I cried in the shower from so much chafing.
It is important to replace the energy lost during exercise as soon as possible, ideally within a 90 minute window of finishing. It is advised to aim for a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. For example a good snack would be yoghurt and granola, or a banana and peanut butter bagel. Refuelling soon after your run helps with the process of rebuilding and repairing any muscle damage and replenishes lost minerals. Refuelling is another factor that is dependant on the intensity or duration of the run. For example, after running a fast 5k or training using shorter bursts/intervals, be sure to replenish good nutrients with fruit and vegetables, as well as carbohydrates and protein, but be careful not to overeat. You’re overall energy loss may not be that high.