This is an excerpt from this week's "Marathoning for Mortals", the official Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon newsletter:
Training is 90% physical and 10% mental. Racing is 10% physical and 90% mental.
Think your way through training and the race. Start with a mental strategy and break the distance into smaller, more digestible pieces. It is much easier to mentally wrap yourself around running or walking a shorter distance than it is to think about digesting the entire distance from the start. Break it up by location on the map, or by distance, but either way it will give you a mental edge and propel your mental game.
Go in without expectations. You can never predict what race day will be like so going in without expectations won't set yourself up for disappointment.
Just like life, you will go through highs and lows in every race. Expect the lows and enjoy the highs. On the last few miles/kilometers in the race, when things are usually the most challenging, think about a run you did while training when you felt strong.
If you have a few kilometers to go, think about a training course at home and visually work your way down through those last few kilometers. Fuel your head. If your blood sugar levels drop, your mind will begin to get foggy and negative thoughts creep in. Stay fueled with gels and Gatorade on the course and maintain a constant level of blood sugar to avoid those lows.