Running long distances is more than just having a physically able body. In fact, without having a strong, positive mindset during and before the run, it can be the most strenuous, difficult task you ever set out to achieve. Oftentimes, it can be the people who either stop in the middle of a race or don't even attempt the race who have a weak mindset (just to clarify: this isn't always the case). As a result, I have compiled a list of steps you can take to generate a positive mindset when running a race; whether it be for a marathon, half #marathon, or even triathlon (training for a race).
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
When you surround yourself with positive people, you're likely to have their positivity brush off on you. Think of all the people who are negative, and try your best to remove them from your life (sometimes, in certain circumstances, that's not possible).
Instead, find groups who share similar interests with you, and are always happy and outgoing. Even if you're a little timid and shy, it can help you break out of your shell if you surround yourself with positive, like-minded people.
Having a healthy diet equates to a healthy mindset. Put the junk food away, and start eating healthier, more natural foods. Although it may not seem like eating healthy foods will impact your mentality at the time, I can assure you that you will feel better after just one or two days of eating less junk. Remember: having a positive mindset when you're over 30 can be more challenging than it was when you were younger.
STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
Whether you want to simply finish a race or make a certain time, it's important that you stay focused on your goals, and not so much on other things (with the exception of family and/or friends). Treat yourself to a good movie or a nice bottle of wine every now and then, but don't forget about what you want to achieve from your race, and do whatever it takes to ensure that you can achieve it.
REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN DO IT
Every morning and night, months before the race even begins you need to reassure yourself that you can do it, and you're not going to fail. A positive mindset is fundamental when running a long-distance race. Even if you don't feel you can do it, saying "I can do it" out loud can help you build your confidence, and eventually you will genuinely believe you can do it. Don't be alarmed if you don't think you can run the race - most people begin with this mentality because let's face it, these races are one heck of a long-distance, and can feel unattainable at times, even for the best of runners.
THINK OF THINGS YOU APPRECIATE IN LIFE
Think of all the people and things you #appreciate in your life. Know that you are more fortunate than a lot of people. The fact you're able to pay to run long distances, and even perhaps read this article on a device should put things into perspective for you. The fact is, it can make us feel good if we know we genuinely have a good life; running just makes it that much better!
SET REALISTIC GOALS
Instead of wishing you could be as good as Joan Benoit or Frank Shorter, start wishing you were as god as you can personally be. There's nothing worse than setting an unrealistic goal and not even getting close to achieving it. All you're going to get is an overwhelming sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction after what should have been a really positive experience. You're over 30 now- things don't come as easily as they used to, unfortunately. It's best to set a goal you think you can truly achieve, and not something that is beyond even your capabilities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast who found the mental edge you need to finish your first marathon.