The power of the mind – last minute marathon nerves

The power of the mind – last minute marathon nerves

This week has been so relaxing.  We are staying in a beautiful, peaceful log cabin with stunning views and a hot tub.

I am with my family who are safe and happy.  We are sleeping well and eating well.  Yet I still feel a huge knot in my stomach.  I am about to go into the unknown and attempt my first marathon.  An event I have been really looking forward to.  What is it about the final taper week that makes us runners feel edgy?  Is it the extra energy from less training turning into restlessness?  The restlessness that naturally combines with a firm dose of doubt and next up the full on fear sets in.  The mind is powerful and  I am hearing negative thoughts.  Some of these thoughts are:

‘I should have trained harder’

‘It is going to be really hot this weekend – I might pass out’

‘I should have lost more weight, this is too much to run with for all those miles’

‘I shouldn’t have had that champagne in the hot tub last night, I should be tee-total this close to the big day’

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Is champagne not good for circulation?

Why is it so much easier to focus on the negatives?  Good gestures should never be overlooked so when I checked my facebook and found a lovely message from a very experienced running friend I felt a warm, fuzzy feeling.  The message went something like this:

Hey Jojo,

I’m guessing as you’re now so close to your first marathon, you’re maybe getting a bit nervous. Maybe you’re not, maybe I’m projecting a bit, but I was f*ck*ng terrified for my first one. No-one ever thinks they’ve trained enough for the 1st one. Maybe you missed a run. Maybe you walked a bit on a couple of runs when you just couldn’t go any more. This is crap. Ignore it. You got to your 20 on the run-up to taper. You’ll get it done.

We’ve all seen on Facebook the amount of time you’ve put in to training and the attitude that you seem to have put into it. I’m sure you don’t need told, but, in case you do, just know that you’re going to be grand on the day. Here’s some of the negative stuff that was going through my mind the few days before that was also just crap.

Arrrgghhh! It’s too far. – No. It’s not. You’ve trained. I’m guessing that running 10 miles was scary when you started. I’m guessing it’s not now.

Arrrgghh! What if I don’t finish? What if I fail? – No. You won’t. You’ve trained. Even if you do not finish( you will though) the awareness you’ve raised is an achievement in itself. There’s always another race.

What if I don’t get the time I want? – Not something to worry about. Just keep going. If you can’t run, walk until you’re ready to go again.

Trust in the work you’ve done. One step at a time, lose yourself a bit in the playlist and just skip along like a mad thing. You’ll be grand.

Go on ye girl ye!

It was like he had read my mind.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  The mind is such a powerful force.  Running is as much a mental challenge, if not more than it is a physical one.  The marathon on Sunday will be my 4th running event.  It is predicted to be a super warm day, as were the last 3 events I took part in.  I hit some mental walls during these runs and told myself I had to stop.  I told myself I couldn’t go on any longer.  I then had to take deep breaths and tell those negative thoughts to go away.  Being a runner has provided me with mental strength I had no idea that I had within me.  So I am going to smile as much as possible on Sunday.  I am going to soak up the atmosphere.  I am ditching the timer and focusing on getting lost in the event.  I am going to become a bit more ‘American’ and high five people and feel the buzz.  I will embrace the fear.  Fear is good.  Fear makes us feel alive.  Let’s do this.

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2 Comments

    • May 26, 2016 / 2:31 pm

      Awe me too, can’t wait to get there xxxx

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