While marathon training can surely be a physical challenge, I believe the mental side of it is just as important. If you go into training without your head in the game, chances are you will burnout halfway through the training cycle.
My last marathon was in April, and since then I have taken my time getting ready to start training again. I knew I had to give my body a rest but I also think my brain needed a break, too. It wasn’t until the past few weeks that I have felt mentally ready to start training again. I think that by the end of June/early July I was physically ready- I was running in races and feeling good- but I was also enjoying the time I was able to spend doing other things like easy runs, swimming, classes at the gym, and yoga. I liked that I could enjoy wine whenever I wanted without having to worry about getting a tough workout in the next day. I don’t think I could have enjoyed my summer and all the traveling I did if I always had to worry about training.
Once I came up with my training plan, I started to feel excited about starting to train again. Other bloggers I follow were getting started on their training and it made me want to do the same. I found myself willing to give up the cross-training and the wine and throw myself back into training mode.
I think the best part of getting mentally ready to train was taking last week (when I was away) as a completely care-free run-whatever-I-want kind of week. Running on the beach allowed me to run free of distractions and remember exactly why I love running so much. This, combined with the Charles St 12, left me ready and excited for the upcoming training cycle and whatever the marathon will bring.
Once you are in training mode you will need to rely quite a bit on your mental strength. You will need to be able to push yourself through workouts, make decisions about your training, and remind yourself of why you do it all. If your mental strength isn’t there before the training even starts, it will be that much harder to access when you need it most.
I believe that to be mentally ready to train you need to feel excitement, confidence, a little nervous, and willing to make some sacrifices. Once you are in training mode you will have plenty of time to look forward to the days post-marathon when you can sleep in more and enjoy Friday night happy hours. There are many tools you need to be ready to start training. I’ve been working on putting together a combination of things that I believe will work for me- including tweaking my nutrition, core work, a chiropractor, and specific workouts- to name a few. Now I think the final piece to pull it all together is the mental side. And as I officially started my training yesterday, I felt like that was right where it needed to be.
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What do you think about the mental side of getting ready to train for a marathon?
Do you think its harder physically or mentally?