Race day is ultimately a mental battle. The physical work has been done during your build, but when it comes to putting all of that hard work out there, a runner’s mental toughness plays a huge role.
Self talk and smiling have been linked to better performance in training and racing. Training our brains to stay motivated is just as important as training our legs. As we enter spring race season, consider trying out a mantra during your final hard workouts that you can use during the toughest moments of your race. A mantra is a motivational phrase to remind you of what you’re capable of and get you refocused.
Rachel Cliff is the Canadian marathon record holder, so she knows a thing or two about pushing her body’s limit. She ran a blazing 2:26:56 at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan two weeks ago to set the new Canadian mark.
She says that around 30K is when the going can get really tough in a marathon. She uses self-talk to help get her through those challenging moments. “Be motivated by the fact that this is the critical part of the marathon. Remind yourself that this moment is what you’ve been training for.” She also reminds runners to keep fatigue in check at this point of the race, because there’s still a ways to go.
A race day mantra will look different for everyone, but a good place to begin is by reminding yourself why you chose to run and what makes it so important to you.