Mental Toughness

Posted on: 30 Aug 2018

I wrote this blog update and was ready to post before the very sad news came in from Marika's family at the weekend. Of course my whitterings, trails and tribulations seem trival now in comparisson. However, if there is one thing that Marika had in spade fulls it was bravery and mental toughness.  Thinking of you Marika x 

10 weeks to go

I often think it’s not just your body that needs to be trained for marathon running, but your mind too. You have to really believe that you can do it and manage those voices in your head that say you can’t .

For me those voices kick in at about 12 miles into the run, they start sowing little seed of doubt by popping up saying - “if it’s starting to get tough now, then you have no hope”. “You should be able to get to half way feeling good”. It’s like a whack -the -mole game at the fairground. You have to bash these voices down before they take hold.  And generally, I can keep bashing down those voices and staying in front until about 17 / 18 miles where the “it’s too tough, I am not going to make it” voices start to get ahead in the game. For the next few miles its full-on war in my head until maybe 21 miles, the end is insight, I know I am going to make it and the voices are finally beaten down for good. 

Hence much of my training is about mental toughness. Knowing that those tough miles are coming and working out how I am going to get through them.

The long run last weekend was good “whack the mole training”. Gary was down, and we planned a nice undulating 16 mile run together, out through the country lanes, following much of the Watford half marathon course. My daughter was on call to meet us half way and top up our water bottles and dispense gels. The first 8 miles were great, powering up and down the hills, keeping a good pace, the weather was perfect.  And then I started to fade and the voices started “seriously you are only  8 miles – no way should you be thinking about a marathon if 8 miles is as good as you have got” . Mile 9 and 10 were a struggle and then we turned a corner, I knew exactly where we were, a few roads that I love running along and suddenly I was back on top of those dam voices – “ 6 miles to home – I can do this”. Unfortunately I mis calculated and we were only 5 miles from home and had to add an extra mile loop on at the end – which again set me back and I struggled big time just to put one foot in front of the other and finish the planned run. 

So what is it? How can I feel so bad at mile 10 and fine again by mile 10.1? Is it just in my head? How do I get better at wacking those moles?  where do i fine another 10 miles from.  All suggestions welcome.

I am also looking for a stand out runningtop for New York.  Something that says I  am a British or English runner. Any suggestions anyone? 



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