For the most part, the training is over and the taper begins for our marathon, half marathon, and 10k runners getting ready for the races coming up in 20 days. So much fun awaits us all!
For any runner, itâ??s important to know that itâ??s the combination of physical training, lifestyle, and psychological readiness that leads to a peak running performance. The event is the opportunity to test our ability to push beyond the limits. The mind has great power to take our body beyond its limits. But the mind can also have a great influence on taking us away from our abilities and drive us into disappointing performance. Such negativity may cause us to believe we are not capable of executing our game plan.
So now that Marc, Lauren, and Anne have done the running they needed to do over the last 12-13 weeks, what more can they do to prepare for their races? Iâ??ve paired two guiding principles for our runners to be thinking about in the next three weeks. They are: â??failing to plan is planning to failâ?? and â??expect the worse, but plan for the best.â?? Now, if we can get our runners to think of everything that can go right, as well as everything that could go wrong, there will be no surprises on race day and the Three Amigos will be happy campers.
I want them to start planning for every detailâ?¦
What socks will they wear, when will they drink water, where will they take energy, what time will they arrive, where will they park, where will they put their keys, what time will they go to bed, what will they eat the week before, the day before, the morning of, where are the portajons on the course, where will their family be cheering, what are their â??splitâ?? times at each mile? And the list goes on.
As for expecting the worst, the runners should think ahead of how theyâ??ll deal positively with such things as: weather extremes, if they wake up feeling queasy or sick on race morning, if they have bathroom problems, if they arrive late, if they start too slow or fast, etc. It is logical that if the runner has encountered adversity during training and mentally handles the adversity, then the runner can apply that training effectively during the race.
Other useful mental training tricks include understanding and accepting pain associated with the effort of your goal event. Planning for the event to be a challenge will be the difference between peak and mediocre performance. All of our runners have had to do this with their training, so race day will not be too much different.
As the race unfolds, and running becomes more difficult, the mind may wander to begin to worry and focus on negatives. When normal fatigue sets in, we want to work on accepting it and to not panic. By not panicking, the mind relaxes, and with it will come a positive, adventurous attitude.
Psychologists say that the left side of the brain, which is the logical side, becomes more active when we are under stress. With running, it can come up with many seemingly technical reasons why we do not want to continue. But if we can relax during this fatigue onset stage, the right side of the brain, the creative side, can come up with solutions to almost any problem the left side has conjured up. If the runner is able to relax and accept the fatigue, the right brain can take over and get the mind off of those tight muscles, fatigue and negative left-brain messages.
Once relaxed and accepting of the situation, find ways to stay positive. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings, talk with your running peers about positive things, and visualize positive and inspirational thoughts.
But the important thing is; during any training run when the going gets tough, keep going because this is valuable mental training for race effort pain management. Feed on the positivity all around you, the other runners, volunteers, the crowd, etc.
Iâ??ll finish the week with a motivational thought for our runners:
Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. Anthony J. Dâ??Angelo
Marcâ??s Marathon Training 5/6 - 5/12:
Tuesday: 5 m run at relaxed pace, confirm recovery from long run
Wednesday: 10 mile at sub-goal pace â?? NOT faster than 7:05- 7:15 per mile
Thursday: 7 mile run, at about 8:00-8:10/mile
Saturday: 8 mile run at about 8:00/mile
Sunday: 14 mile at comfortable pace @8:00/mile, consciously keep it at this pace
Anne Beginner 10K, 5/6-5/12:
Note: All of Anneâ??s runs are at conversational pace
Monday: walk or XT, Prehab, hip strength
Tuesday: run 35 min
Wednesday: Prehab, hip strength
Thursday: run 40 min
Friday: walk or XT, Prehab, hip strength
Saturday: 45 minutes, non-stop, easy talking pace
Sunday: alternative exercise
Laurenâ??s Half Training 5/6â??5/12:
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Saturday: 11 miles total