As Yogi Bara said, “Ninety percent of this game is mental; the other half is physical.” As we get closer to the marathon, the mileage picks up, including in the long runs. Maintaining mental stamina is often the biggest challenge. There are many strategies for bolstering your stamina. Running with others can be very helpful. Some like to listen to music or have a partial distance destination. Here are some other ideas:
- Create a personal mantra. It can be very simple: “I run, I finish”, or “I am strong”; or more elaborate: “I am a marathoner. Snow, ice, and rain, I run. My legs are strong, my heart is strong. I am a marathoner!”
- Try mental imagery. Imagine yourself moving lightly and powerfully. Imagine yourself climbing easily and fluidly up heartbreak hill, or envision the finish line and you gracefully, calmly running toward it.
- Break up your long runs into smaller runs. If you’re running 20 miles, structure this mentally as four 5 mile runs, and congratulate yourself on completing each segment.