Training mental strength for the race is as important as training your body. Many runners don’t achieve their goals and PB because they are not mentally prepared.
Going with the flow and enjoying the running doesn’t seem bad at all, right? But when you have run third of your marathon and your leg start to feel tired and then you see hill front of you, you might say couple swear word inside you head. Your speed slow down and you feel exhausted and annoyed as some other runners look like they do not have any problems. OR then you can be as those other runners and run easily the whole distance and enjoy it more.
How to practice your mind?
Check the course profile well in advance. If the course is near you, go and run it several times. You can divide it to the smaller section. While you are running it memorize all the hills and curves, imagine where will be probably most of the crowd to support runners. Go to the event website and check hydration points, make hydration plan and practice it.
If you live further away that you don’t have access the place sooner than race day. Check course profile and route, most of the event organizer release those on their website. If you have plenty of time on your hands, you can drive the course the google maps. But the main point is to memorize when you are going to drink or take gels, where are the hills and other possible tougher spots.
Close your eyes and imagine you run through these spots, imagine that you are strong and energetic. Imagine how good and fresh you feel after drinking. Do this several time before the race. Don’t leave it the night before, start at least couple week before, make it routine, for example before you go to the sleep, run the race through in your mind. You don’t have spent hours to do this every night, just think all the hardest spot.
By doing this, your mind is prepared itself, it creates confidence. So when the race day comes and you run the course and you reach the first hill you don’t feel as exhausted as you might because your subconscious was already prepared and aware about the upcoming hill, it was also prepared for the fact it would be easy to run.
You kind like cheat on your own subconscious.