Building Mental Strength for the Marathon

This post is in collaboration with Berocca. 

No Day Too Tough

When your legs are telling you to stop, your mind has to shout louder for you to continue…

This morning, my alarm went off at 5.30am, jolting me out of my stupor. I didn’t want to get up. I was feeling tired, it was raining outside, and my bed was so appealing. However, I got up…

It’s mornings like this that will come in handy on race day, and it’s why I’ve teamed up with Berocca on their Day Too Tough campaign. They want to help you guys achieve your own challenges.

No Day Too Tough

I’ve been thinking a lot about how mental strength and having a positive attitude affects performance (especially after the response to yesterday’s post) 

I’m not a particularly skilled runner, nor have I been the most hardworking in the past. But my stubbornness and mental strength to push on when things are hard is something I admire about myself.

I have seen friends train hard to reach their goals, and fall just short on race day, and it’s happened to me too. I’ve tried to pace people to half and full marathon personal bests, for them to pull back when it hurts. If you are pushing yourself, it is going to hurt. You have to have the mental strength to push beyond where your body says stop, but your mind ensures you forge onward.

The more you develop your tools and mental strategies during the 12/16 week training block, the more you can utilise them on race day to help you through the tough part.

Your mind is a muscle, it needs to be exercised. The idea of ‘No Day Too Tough’ is a way to help us get through obstacles, in both our day-to-day life, but also in training and racing challenges. Berocca is an effervescent vitamin tablet that contains vitamins B1 and B2 to help support energy release and B5 to support mental performance, to help you overcome your daily challenges.

With the right mental and physical preparation – no day is too tough!

No Day Too Tough

Personally, I’m working through the Rogue Running Mental Framework podcasts (alongside their training framework episodes) and what I love is that they compare training for a marathon like going in to battle. Much like my favourite training quote.

The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war.

In order to succeed in any battle you need to have a plan. According to the Rogue Runner’s there are four aspects within your mental training battle plan….

  1. What’s your motivation?

You have to love to run, or at least some aspect of the run training. Even if its a tough process, it’s important to have the love and motivation to continue. What motivates you to continue when it gets hard?

  1. What kind of runner do you want to be?

Visualize the type of runner you want to be – is it a Boston Qualifying runner, a sub three-hour marathon runner and ultra-marathon finisher, or someone who sees the beauty in every run. You can start by saying ‘I see my future running self doing….’

  1. What is your reason for running?

This is the reason you’re doing it in the first place. It’s your statement of purpose. Why is this important? Why did you start running or pick that challenge?

  1. The determination to ‘win’

You’ve got to set goals or objectives that you’re trying to reach.

Regardless of what your idea of ‘winning’ is, whether that is achieving a time goal, distance, or coming back from injury. In order to prepare ourselves, we have to think about the tools that we have to enhance our mental and physical strength: visualisation, problem solving, resilience training, and flexibility.

‘We win in our mind before we hit the battlefield’

No Day Too Tough

Why not start utilising your first 10 minutes of the day, whilst drinking your Berocca to help visualise your race day performanceVisualise your goals, your training, and tackling that race or event that you’re working towards.

Create a series of images in your mind of what you want to accomplish. Imagine yourself in the perfect running situation, achieving your goal.

Be clear about it, specific, go into details. You are achieving your goal, running your perfect race. Run that image repeatedly in your mind until you begin to feel strong, resilient, self confident and powerful.

Build mantras. Something that works for you to get through the tough moments in a workout or a race. During the Tokyo Marathon, I repeated the phrase ‘Never Stop Fighting’ repeatedly when parts of me wanted to give up.

Read Kara Goucher’s book Strong. Utilise the spaces to write your own confidence journal, partly to help you focus on the positive aspects of training after workouts when maybe not everything went to plan. Plus, when you begin to doubt yourself, you have a log to look back over to reassure yourself that you have worked hard, there have been plenty of successful training sessions and you are stronger than you were when you started.

Remember your why. Sometimes that’s a person, a charity, a goal, a race. Think about that on the days when it is impossible to get out of the door. I have the Boston Marathon logo on my Garmin to look at every single day. It’s the reminder I need, it’s all about the journey, not that individual run. Tell yourself that there is #NoDayTooTough for you not to give it a go…

As part of the #NoDayTooTough campaign, Berocca are giving you the chance to win an energising experience for two, eg climbing over the 02 in London or race entry. To enter, just share your story with the hashtag – #NoDayTooTough on Instagram (don’t forget to tag me!) for a chance to win. 20 lucky runners up will win a three-month supply of Berocca – find out more at www.berocca.co.uk. 

No Day Too Tough

*Competition closes on 7th December 2018. Over 18s only.

Competition Terms and Conditions:
  1. This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland. The competition is open to entrants over the age of 18 only.
  2. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Submission of entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  3. Entries should be submitted as a comment on the Instagram post with a hashtag #NoDayTooTough
  4. All entries must be received by the advertised closing time and date to be stated in the copy.
  5. Each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to Bayer to feature any or all of the submitted story in consumer press and Bayer company publications, on their websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition.
  6. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries will not be accepted. No responsibility can be accepted for lost entries and proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt. Entries must not be sent through agencies or third parties.
  7. The competition opens on 29th November 2018 and closes at midnight on 6th December 2018 – the Influencer will choose the winning entry. The winner will be notified by the influencer within seven days of the closing date of the competition. Any questions on the competition please contact the promoter’s contact details on olivia.wilson@thisispegasus.co.uk
  8. Offensive or entries deemed by the competition organisers to be inappropriate or not in relation to the competition will not be accepted and removed.
  9. All reasonable efforts will be made to contact each winner but if the prize is declined or unclaimed by a winner, within 14 days of contact, or if a winner cannot be contacted from the details supplied, a replacement winner will be selected at the Influencer’s discretion and will be notified by the Influencer. The original entry/nomination will then be forfeited. Employees of the Promoter and influencer’s families are not eligible for entry into this competition. Any third parties involved in the preparation and/or performance of this competition are also not eligible.
  10. The winning entry will win an energising experience e.g. Climb over O2. With 20 x runners up receive a three-month supply of Berocca.
    Events may occur that render the competition itself, or the awarding of the prize, impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.
    English law applies and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts shall prevail.
Photos by Anna Jackson.