Yesterday, I kicked off Week 5 with a hot and sticky run. I ran some of my fastest miles in several weeks. My autopilot is what I would describe as my 10K pace, so I really challenged myself to run a 5K pace yesterday to get just a bit of pacing practice in.
Mission accomplished. Went home and took an ice-cold shower.
I want to share a few visualizations that I’m working with during my marathon training to help me stay mentally strong during my runs. These are little episodes I can play for myself either to get motivated during the beginning of a run, or perhaps to get through a particularly challenging or tiring phase of a run.
- Getting to the finish line. I imagine, in great detail, what it will be like to round the bend onto Railroad Avenue and cross the finish line for the marathon. I think about the people, the colorful fall foliage, the sound of the announcer and crowds mulling about the food tables. I think about the volunteer putting the medal over my head. I think about the relief and sense of pride and achievement. My family members and friends are waiting for me. It feels so amazing to run toward that finish line and make it to the end. My skin prickles from the gratitude and joy.
- Other people running in this moment. I think about all the other people, of all shapes, sizes and background who are running along with me during this very moment. I think about how many other people are training for their first marathon. I think about this community of runners that is linked across the world by the shared goal of engaging with our practice.
- Running in the future, with my daughter. I am several years in the future, and I am running with my daughter. She is running in that lanky and quick way that 8-year-olds do. We are encouraging each other along at a race, enjoying the excitement of the run. This is something special we do together as mother and daughter.
These are the little clips I play in my mind over and over again to feel uplifted when I run. I think everybody has different visualizations that create motivation. In addition to enjoying this positive imagery, I also always run with the anticipation of how great it will feel to finish the run. Physiologically, there are few things more enjoyable than a runner’s high. Lately, when I open the door and come back to the house after completing a run, my daughter yells “Yay! Mommy!” Hands down, the best reward.