The Mental Game- Staying Focused, Mental ToughnessTips for tackling the late middle miles (miles 16-20 or 8-10) and the final 6.2 or 3.1

The late middle miles 16-20 or 8-10:

  1. Prepare your plan for the training run or the race before you start.
  2. Start breaking the miles into smaller parts: to the next mile mark or fluid station or a runner ahead of you. Stay in the moment. Visualize success but only for the segment you are in.
  3. Shut down the brain argument to slow down or quit: trust your training - it is there for you; believe in yourself.
  4. Occupy your brain with form checks: breathing, foot strike, relax shoulders and arms, check posture.
  5. Have a motivating mantra (self talk phrase) ready to repeat to yourself.

The final 6.2 or 3.1:

  1. Break these miles down into one mile runs and concentrate only on the one you are in. 
  2. Count the miles down backwards: 6,5,4,3,2,1
  3. Keep up the nutrition and sugar replacement. Glycogen is muscle food- this has been depleted and needs to be replaced for muscles to work. Glucose is brain food- this too has been depleted and needs to be replaced. Simple sugar replaces both- GU, Stingers, jelly beans, life savers

Learn to turn “bad” runs into “learn mental toughness” runs. Every run brings something to be learned. Look for reasons the run did not go well:

  1. Went out too fast
  2. Not properly fueled - either before the run or during the run
  3. Training fatigue - take extra rest
  4. Weather - get through this, get through anything

Clarify your goals and what motivates you to run in the first place - why are you training for this race? Visualize - keep the “why” in mind. Remember, you aren’t doing this because someone said it would be easy, you’re doing it because it is hard. Practicing the mental game using determination and perseverance leads to “grit”- its what will get you across the finish line.

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