Always an important part of marathon training to have a couple of runs that test your mental and physical resilience. Well, I had one of those last weekend. My long run included intervals at 10k pace. The last set of which was hard to hold. But I did it.
Then, I had to get my heart rate back down under 140 bpm for the final 9 miles. After waking your heart rate up with some faster pacers, it doesn’t always want to comply. Actually, it never does. There were a few choice words coming out of my mouth as I had to slow to a crawl to get my HR back to where my coach tells me I need it. It was tough. It was long and slow. You have to “lean in” to these runs because what you do here will set you up for when things get tough on race day (if they do).
I kept reminding myself how much I want this. I kept thinking about the finishing line of the marathon and a huge PB. That didn’t help to get my heart rate down either as I would find myself starting to feel quite excited. I have crossed the Melbourne Marathon finish line before and know how it feels, what it looks like, what it sounds like. Creating all of that visual in my mind certainly got my heart racing. Dang! I imagined hugging the fellow runner next to me in excitement as I see the time on the clock. Cheering to the officials, thanking them for their time. Hugging and kissing my husband and kids for all their support to get me to that moment. You can see why the heart rate went up….
I took my ear buds out, focussed on my breathing and got into the moment. That works. Nothing like a bit of running meditation to calm things down and make life a better place.
Whatever techniques get you through those long, tough runs, you can draw on again on race day. You have to get that practice in. Totally critical. As scary as they always feel when I look at my training plan, I know those tough runs are going to put me in good stead. I am not just training my body but also my mind and it is all going well so far.
Happy mental strength to you all.