A Wife Loved Like The Church

Half Marathon Training Guide, Part 2 – The Mental

Posted on: February 9, 2011

When I started running long distances {5+ miles}, I was shocked at how the run was as mental as it was physical. I read in Runner’s World {which I think is perhaps the runner’s bible} that your body can keep running further than your mind. In other words, if your head’s not in the game, your body won’t be either. Over the last year, I’ve picked up some technics for staying trained mentally.

Half Marathon Training {The Mental} 

{photo credit}

1. Prepare for the worse – Understand that running 3 miles is not easy. Running 13.1 miles is even harder. I don’t want to scare or discourage you, but it’s true. However, for me, if I start the run knowing it’s not easy but can be done, then I feel prepared. It’s like walking into a final exam – I know it will be tough, but I’ve studied hard for the test and plan to succeed.

2. Find a cheerleader – When I feel like I can’t accomplish something, I need someone to encourage me. My someone is Jonathan. Time and time again he tells me how amazed he is that I’ve completed a long run, or gives me a pep talk before I leave for a run. Even if he is rarely my running buddy, Jonathan’s always in my head cheering me on, telling me I can go that extra mile.

3. Talk yourself through the run – I don’t listen to music when I run. Some of you may think that is crazy, but it’s true. Now before you think I’m some running purest, it has nothing to do with not wanting to listen to music, but simply that my iPod broke 1.5 years ago and I’ve never replaced it. Since then, I started talking myself through my runs. I try to run familiar routes and set visual goals {park is 1 mile, crossroad is 2.5 miles, etc}. Talking myself through my runs looks like: a) encouraging myself as I pass my visual goals, b) sorting through personal issues, and, c) praying/mediating. As you talk yourself through your run, you’ll find that you don’t actually need music to run, and it brings the {good} intensity of running to a whole new level.

4. Make some compromises – This last weekend I was suppose to run 8 miles. I woke up and loathed the idea of running 8 miles. I wanted nothing more than to lay in bed with my family and then s-l-o-w-l-y start the day. I knew I couldn’t miss a training day, so I compromised: do 3 mile hill training, followed by 5 mile bike training. In the end, I cut my training time in half so I could get back to my family {but thanks to those brutal hills – I was much more sore!}.

5. Cut yourself some slack – Not every run will be great. You’ll cut a run short. You’ll walk away feeling defeated. It is okay. I’ve walked away from a 3 mile run in tears with how poorly it went. And I’ve walked away from a 7 mile run feeling amazing. Just like having bad days, you’re gonna have bad runs. Understand that one run doesn’t determine your life as a runner – it’s getting back on the road that does.

Just keep your head in the game {even if it’s insane}.

For Part 1 of this three part series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

10 Responses to "Half Marathon Training Guide, Part 2 – The Mental"

This great Sis!! I might add that some people (I) do very well training with a partner or a group. Helps them (me) to be more accountable and push their (my) limits. Pittsburgh in May????

I agree with having a running buddy – but for me it’s either find a running buddy {Jon} or a babysitter. We’re still talking about May, haven’t decided what to do yet, it’s a pretty busy month!

What a great post! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

Hi there! I just had The weirdest running experience ever (http://wp.me/pXsUB-FH) and I hope somebody can give me some advice since I just started running and everything is new for me!
Thank you so much!

This is a great series, and great advice! The whole mind over body thing is so important.

For me the first three weeks or so are the worst because I am out of running shape and my mind is screaming, “this stinks just quit!”

But, I much prefer music or podcasts on long runs. Every now and again I go without but usually just because my iPod runs out of juice. I used to run with people and talk and when I do speed or hills I guess I go without music.

Can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

Keep running!

All these lessons, and the ones you’ll learn all apply to life – in the spiritual and the material ways. They are brilliant.

I’ve been blessed reading today.

Thank you – and God bless

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by craigbelieves, Sarah Windham. Sarah Windham said: Why running is a mental game: http://bit.ly/eZpOzu #austinhalfmarathon […]

I’ve learned not to run with ear bugs. And I talk to myself and quote Scripture when a run gets tough. Tomorrow is my longest yet – 4 miles. I’d appreciate your prayers!

[…] 1. Finding your center – Wow, if that didn’t sound New Age-y, I don’t know what will. But honestly, running can really help you focus, sort through your emotions, and recenter yourself. Just channeling your efforts into exercise can help clear your mind of “emotional baggage”. I attribute it to all the time alone – yet another reason I don’t listen to music while I run. […]

[…] the grass and wait for the “dropped runner” cart to pick me up. I started using every metal trick in my book. I made up games. I gave myself a pep talk. I counted how many people I saw in certain colored […]

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