Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virgin Money London Marathon has been moved to the Autumn. And for anyone who’s ever run a long distance in the April heat, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.
With just one month to go, until the world’s largest charity fund raising event begins, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s too late to train or prepare for such a huge task. However, this last month can be the most crucial, in terms of preparing your mind, as well as your body, for the journey ahead.
So, you’ve been training all year, maybe you’ve built your way up from a 5K parkrun and you’ve practice an ‘easy’ 20 miler, in time to hit your peak. Perhaps you’ve even been watching what you eat. Controlling your calorie intake and denying yourself the occasional treat to optimise your performance. But, how is your head?
A lot of long-distance runners claim half their battle is the mental struggle. They know they can run the distance. They even know they can hit their desired time. But, for them if they’re not in the right frame of mind, it can seriously hamper their run. So, what can you do, to prepare yourself mentally?
Clear any problems running through your mind
The first and simplest tip is perhaps easier said than done. But sleeping well the night before and in the lead up to the big day is crucial. It stands to reason that if you’re well rested, you’ll have more energy to expend. So, stick to your normal sleep routine, whatever works for you. Keep the room cool and free of phones and other distractions. Explore CSSC life for their hints and tips on getting a good night sleep.
Try to forget about running and the task ahead for a few hours. This could be by relaxing with a Pilates or Yoga session. And for some it could be to listen to your favourite podcast, audio book or even stand-up comedy routine. If you have household chores to complete, this can be an excellent way to distract you and a gentle way to keep your limbs moving and agile.
Talk the walk
If you’re tense or have worries about injury or not finishing, it’s always good to talk. If you know someone who’s run a marathon before, especially the London marathon they may have some excellent advice, especially if they know you well and understand your concerns. If you don’t know anyone personally you can always find forums and blogs online for every age and ability. And remember, CSSC has some excellent hints, tips and facebook communities to explore.
Finally, remember this is all for fun. If this were a serious event, you wouldn’t see people dressed as chickens and deep-sea divers. Yes, there are professional runners, even Olympic and world champions trying to beat the sub 2-hour record. But unless you’ve set yourself a mammoth task, you’re unlikely to cross paths. So, try not to forget what you’re doing this for. Whether that’s to raise money for a good cause, beat your own PB or simply to say you did it. For any confidence you’re lacking, the crowds’ motivation will propel you further than you ever imagined possible.
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If you are taking part in this year’s London Marathon, or perhaps you’re the pit crew for a friend, we’d really like to hear from you. We’d love to share your top tips and advice and we’d definitely love to see any photos or hear about your journey.
Share your stories with us on social media and it could just help a fellow member get over the line.