boston marathon tips

2012 Boston Marathon Tips

Are You Mentally Prepared?

It’s been a year since I ran the 115th Boston Marathon and definitely a time for reflection. I think the biggest part of my preparation that could have been better was my mental preparation. As I’ve shared before on this blog, mental preparation is so key for success.

I was so drained from raising money for charity, getting my travel plans in order and training that when I found myself at the starting line, the event hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hopefully, this year’s round of Boston Marathon runners will take heed to Runner’s World’s recent spotlight article called “8 Mental Tricks for Boston Runners.” Boy, I wish I had been able to hear Harvard psychologist and Runner’s World advisor Dr. Jeff Brown prior to my race! Dr. Brown has been the psychologist assisting the Boston Marathon for more than a decade, so he knows all about the psychology of marathon running.

In the video, Dr. Brown shares his eight mental strategies for runners. Here’s a quick synopsis:

1. Trust Your Training. Set up a routine and follow the routine in advance. Going over your plan will help reduce anxiety, according to Brown.

2. Eliminate the Doubts. Keep positive self statements in your mind. Negative thoughts make your shoes heavy, says Brown.

3. Put Life’s Distractions Away Before and During the Race. Self explanatory.

4. If Something Unexpected Happens…accept it for what it is and don’t worry about it. Perfection isn’t required to finish the race, explains Brown.

5. Overcome HeartBreak Hill. Mental tricks like repeating “glide,” “up,” and using other positive word associations will take your mind off your body and performance.

6. Indulge Your Superstitions. Superstitions can help you feel positive and encouraged. And, if you lost lucky your socks, don’t worry. Embrace new types of luck.

7. Choose 2 or 3 Goals. Setting several goals for your race is helpful so you can feel successful at multiple times during the race and feel overall satisfied with your race performance even if you didn’t hit your PR (personal record) time, says Brown.

8. Remind Yourself “Why” You’re Doing It. Know why you’re there and focus on it. Whether it’s your kids waiting for you at the finish line, accomplishing your ultimate goal or gaining bragging rights, focus on your “why.”

Watch Dr. Brown’s video here.