The marathon requires a great effort for our body and our mind and knowing how to deal with it on a psychological level is fundamental

Running a marathon is not a challenge just for our body. The mind plays an equally or even more important role than our legs: it is she who orders the body to continue running.  In this article, we will see what should and should not be done to prepare for such a demanding test.

A marathon consists of over 42 kilometers of physical and mental concentration. Being ready is not easy at all and requires months of preparation and even years for a high-level race.

Many famous marathons are run around the world, such as those in Boston, Chicago, Berlin, London, New York, and Tokyo. These, added to those of lesser thickness, set in motion millions of runners from all over the world who want to try to challenge their limits.

This translates into a greater commitment for those runners who want to conquer the top of the podium and, consequently, in the existence of many different preparation techniques. Running a marathon is a complex process that goes far beyond the test itself.

Physical preparation for a marathon

Before focusing on the mental conditions that a marathon runner must have, let’s review what are the physical requirements necessary to face this type of race:

  • Having experience on shorter roads:  according to the Olympic athlete Chema Martìnez, it is not a good idea to start with the toughest race without going first for the lighter ones.
  • Carry out medical checks: since you are going to demand the maximum from your body, you need to make sure everything is going well.
  • Do a workout before the marathon of at least 8/10 weeks: obviously it is important to get prepared at the beginning of these two or three months of the final preparation. It is the conclusion of a path that began long ago.
  • Aerobic preparation: the central exercise consists of running many kilometers as training. There are several methods that can be adopted and that depend on the condition of the athlete, his preferences and the strategy decided by the coach – key actor in this preparation phase.
  • Exercises for the gym: the muscles need to be strong and durable, which is obtained by weights in the gym. Pre-warm-up and post-workout stretching are also important.

Mental training to run a marathon

This is as important as physical preparation. An athlete must be aware of his possibilities and have the self-confidence to be able to achieve the goals he has set himself. To have the right mental attitude it is necessary to keep in mind the following points:

Set achievable goals

A beginner cannot claim to break records or win every competition. To avoid frustrations that could result in the abandonment of a sports career or a decrease in commitment, it is necessary to avoid setting impossible goals.

Achievable objectives must be elaborated based on the possibilities of your body and the results obtained in previous training and competitions. Furthermore, any drawbacks that may arise before or during the competition must also be considered.

View the race

During training imagine yourself in the race and think about how to face the moment when tiredness will take possession of your legs. You must also carefully follow the roadmap that has been defined or be able to interpret when it is better to change it.

Also, you must be able to imagine yourself as you cross the finish line. If you can imagine it, you can also do it. It is a matter of strength and self-confidence.

Take courage

Using positive and encouraging sentences during training will be of great help. Although it may sound like self-deception to someone, it is very good for the spirit to think of phrases like “I can do it”, “Only a kilometer is missing”, “I trained a lot and I can do it”.

It is also very helpful to have external support, from the coach or a loved one, who encourages you to move forward when you believe that you no longer have the strength. Very often the limits lie in our mind and not in our body.

Focus on solutions and not on problems

If a particular phase of training or competition causes you difficulties, think about how to overcome it. Instead of saying “That’s impossible” or “What a pity I can’t do this”, look for alternatives. There are always other options: concentrate and work.

Self-esteem and preparation

If you go to the race thinking that you will be wrong or that you will abandon it, it is better that you stay at home. You have to be convinced that it was worth having a lot of training. Think of the satisfaction you will experience if you reach the goal.

As for the preparations, the best thing is to leave everything ready and reduce the stress on the day of the race . Especially if you have to move, prepare everything you need during the trip and in case of an emergency.

As we said at the beginning of the article, running a marathon doesn’t just mean running those 42 kilometers. It is much more, so you must prepare and be ready for this great sporting challenge. Remember that commitment and perseverance always pay off.

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