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How to mentally get through a marathon

22 April, 2017

Welcome to the third and final blog post in our marathon series. You've already got our five top tips, you're clued up on nutrition, and now your body's ready, but it's your mind you've got to convince. For a dose of inspiration, we've pulled together some of our top tips, and asked the runners who know the struggle and how to overcome it all too well.


Tip #1: 

Take five minutes before your race to collect your thoughts, review your race plan, and use your motivation to remind yourself why you're there. You've already done the hard work and earned your medal. It's time to pick it up. 

Tip #2:

Work the crowd. They're there to cheer you on, so having your name clearly printed or attached to your top can give you a huge boost. Hell, pretend you're famous when everyone's shouting your name. 

Tip #3:

Look up, around, and embrace the atmosphere and the amazing city you're running through. When we look down at the ground we tend to internalise and it's easier to focus on the negatives.

Tip #4:

If you're zoning out, hitting a wall, or need something to focus on, rather than having music in the background, sing along to every lyric (in your head...or out loud...). Loose yourself in the music. 

Tip #5:

It's all about your language. Make sure your inner voice has your back, because how you talk to yourself will affect how you feel. Rather than highlighting anxieties and thinking things like 'I hope I don't peak too early, I hope I hit my time', reframe them and think about feeling confident, relaxed and enjoying the day. Did you wake up nervous? No, you woke up excited...you've got this.

Hannah Leith

ASICS front runner and Tribe ambassador | @escapingthecity 


Tip #6: 

Split your race into manageable chunks. Mentally it's so much easier to focus on getting to the end of the next 5 miles (and the next 5 after that...) rather than thinking of the actual total distance to the finish. 


Laura Murray

Nike Run Club Pacer | @murraylaura

Photo credit: Will Patrick.

Tip #7:

Stay calm and believe in your hard work and your recovery in the run up. Believing YOU CAN makes that finish line come quicker.

Tip #8:

I don't think about the whole distance. Take each mile as it comes, and just tick them off one by one. Focusing on the mile in hand has been key to my training this year, and it's definitely what's going to help me get through the marathon on the day!

Tip #9:

Dedicate each mile (or at least the last 6) to someone you know!


Runner, explorer and full-time city lawyer | @lucy_fitness | lucyfitness.com

Tip #10: 

When training's been tough I've been repeating "I can and I am". Believing I can run the distance and setting off with a positive mindset, remembering how lucky I am to be running London is really exciting.  

Lorna North

Freelance writer, runner, cyclist and founder of Queen Of The Mile | www.queenofthemile.com@queenofthe_mile

Tip #11: 

It's really important not to go into a marathon with specific expectations. I did this on my first marathon by chasing a time that, in hindsight, was well beyond my reach. Rather than relaxing and just acknowledging my sense of achievement for even finishing the course, I just felt disappointed. The trick is to not put any pressure on yourself, chill out and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. The last time I did that, I got a PB!


Adventure Ferg

Ultra marathon runner and endurance athlete | www.adventureferg.com | @adventureferg

Tip #12: 

I find counting up or down from 50 or 100 with each breath helps focus my mind, and splits the race down into lots of little chunks. I find this really useful - by the time you've done this a couple of times, you'll nearly have done a kilometre, and so on.


Charlie Brown, LDN Brunch Club 

A club for running, working out and brunching across London  | www.ldnbrunchclub.co.uk | @ldnbrunchclub

Tip #13: 

Think of the race as the celebration of all your hard work. After weeks and weeks of training, race day is the time to fully appreciate and revel in the journey that you've taken to get to that start line. Let the crowd's cheers spur you on and go and grab that medal that you most certainly deserve.


Have you got a killer tip you'd like featured? Drop us an email at hello@fittyldn.com


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