Mental Strength

I've begun to visualize the race each night before I fall asleep. Maybe not the best time/place, but it's better than nothing. Sometimes I make it to the 3 mile mark, sometimes I make it to mile 20.

I also try to visualize the race during each run. Even on easy runs, when there's 6.2 miles left, I visualize seeing the 20 mile mark. I often have to remind myself to slow down, continue to take it easy. My pace tends to quicken as I get into the visual of race day/race day effort :).

I know that in order to make the 2:45.xx goal, I'll not only need to have one of my best days physically, but also mentally. I've struggled so far to know what to focus on. Do I try to run through each possible scenario? Running with a pack of women at first, and if they run even, staying with them, if they run too fast, lagging behind, etc. Do I just visualize how the effort feels? Visualize hitting my splits or not hitting them, and how I'll react? Sometimes I feel like the best way to approach a race is with little more than a plan to race ALL OUT. Leave nothing behind. That's how I've raced my best previously, but I think there's more mental preparation needed for the marathon distance. Maybe I'm wrong and should just keep it really simple.

Anyway, I was talking to a group I run with over lunch about my mental preparations, and they suggested seeing a sports psychologist in town. We've been emailing back and forth (it's someone I've met that is an active runner in town), and I'll meet him early next week. He's willing to sneak me in & make a CD so I can rehearse using that over & over until race day. No charge.

WOW. Which leads me to my next topic: I can not BELIEVE the amount of people that have been willing to support and help me along the way. First off, to my husband, who puts up with my constant chatter about workouts, how I'm feeling, trying to find the right shoes, eating right, etc. Next, Jerry, who has been the most AMAZING coach and the best thing that's happened to my training, ever (pretty sure that's a true statement). Next, Jim, my chiropractor, Dr. Bahl, who helped with iron testing, Chrissy, who helped put together a strength routine, Brenden, who will help pace me during the race... heck, this weekend I needed to put in a 13-15 mile MP run, and not only is Brenden driving over to do it with me, but the Northfield runners in town have mapped out a separate route for me (they're doing an annual informal 1/2 marathon that same day). The list of people is pretty impressive. Seriously, all of these people that want to help ME? They must not know that I'm really not that talented...

I am SO grateful for the help, and know that without it, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. However, with help comes the pressure of wanting to perform. One thing the sports psychologist mentioned in his last email is that I need to remember that I'm doing this for ME, and that there's no pressure from anyone (including myself) to hit that time. The race isn't the "end all". I need to let go of feeling like I HAVE to perfom because so many have put time & energy into me. Not an easy thing to do, since I feel very indebted.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit. I'm excited to hear what the psychologist has to say. I'm a little nervous about the prospect of working with one (I feel like I need to have a mental issue to go to one!!)

P.S. Tempo workout earlier this week: 2 tempo 5ks inside of a 13 mile run: 17:52 and 18:03. How fun!

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear that all's going so smoothly. Now that I can finally comment again - I tried to find what I saw about vizslas and can't find it again, so it was apparently some crackpot internet thing.

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