I think we all know how racing and running in general can be mental as well as physical. If you go in believing you can do something it will probably go better than if you doubt yourself and your abilities.
The article is by JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D. she has a website at performingedgecoach.com and drjoann.com. Here are my highlights.
She lists three techniques to try when you need a little motivation. The first is my favorite
- Pretend the runner in front of you has a large magnet on them and you are being pulled effortlessly toward the magnet by the magnet's own force. As soon as you are up to that runner reattach the magnet to another one. I figure this can also work by attaching the magnet to landmark's instead if there are no other runners around. She states the reason this works is it helps distract your mind from your pain and you can have some fun with it.
- Chunking technique, this involves breaking the race or run into smaller segments, which then become mentally more manageable. For example you could break a 10 mile run into a 5 mile, a 5k, and a 2mile. These smaller distances feel less intimidating and you know you can do them.
- Pretend you have big springs on your feet. If your feet feel like lead and they just can't get off the ground, just imagining they are bounding up with every step may help change the perception on how they are moving in your head and help you feel like you are running lighter
What kind of mental games do you play to help get you through a tough race or run?
I usually just pick out a runner I think I can catch and try to whittle away the distance with the mantra "a step at a time, and breath" I will mentally say one word with each step. Though I think I will try the magnet thing next time and see how it works.
Have you had a race moment where you realized you were more mentally fatigued than physically fatigued and talked yourself out of it?
My first half marathon didn't go like I wanted it to, so when I ran my second I was halfway through before I was able to really shake that off and realize I was going to do awesome. I kept passing people, they were getting tired and I was still firing up. I just had to trust in my training and how great my body was feeling. That half marathon hooked me for life.