The last hard week of marathon training is almost complete and I’m dealing with marathon doubts.

I’ve run most of the miles without great issue.

Wednesday, I ran 5 mile at 8:56 pace. Thursday, another 5 without problems.

I even ate this Maple Bacon flavored Gu.

Dealing with marathon doubts


And yet, I still doubt myself. Should I have picked a harder training program? Should I have run faster, pushed harder?

But truly, I should celebrate. I am one long run away from the taper of an injury-free training cycle and have set myself up for a personal record.

I could have picked a harder plan, but then perhaps gotten injured. It’s a 10 year plan, not “as fast as you can” plan.

So I’m telling the back of my mind to shut up. To nail a marathon plan is AWESOME, so stop poking holes in it, brain!

Dealing with marathon doubts

During the taper, I’m going to work on visualization and preparing myself mentally. When it becomes painful, I need to not be surprised. I need to tell myself that I can keep going.

I came across an old article in Runner’s World – Train Your Brain to Run Your Best. The author is a runner that hit a plateau and recruited a mental-game coach. There is some good stuff in the article, but what struck me in particular was the thoughts the runner attached to her racing splits. She reported that when running too slow she worries she won’t make her goal, and when running at the correct pace she worries she will die. The coach pointed out that those are both negative thoughts.

Wow. I’m guilty of that, too. How can you expect to have a positive race, when there is no perfect split that is going to make you happy? Instead, you have to work on giving yourself a positive voice for ANY split.

26.2 miles is hard enough. I don’t need my brain feeding me negativity the entire 4.5 hours. I will focus on training my brain – and trust in the taper.

Further Reading:

How do you mentally prepare for races?

Would you ever eat Maple Bacon flavored Gu?