Q14. This is my first marathon but I have done quite a few half's and 10k races. I find that on race days I can't seem to stop focusing on the race and how I am feeling. Generally I feel uncomfortable and cant get away from this for the whole race-which I think will be particularly hard for an entire marathon.
I think my best training runs are the ones where I can stay on pace but allow my mind to focus on other things. I can even make this work in some of my training above race pace, but can't seem to do so on race day.
I plan to use some positive mantras and prepare some topics to think about on race day but would be grateful for any tips or tricks to improve my mental race day experience, prior to the marathon. – Sara Leach
A14. Have you thought about running with one of the Pace Groups? That would give you a distraction (chatting, people around you etc) but wouldn't allow you to stray off pace. There's bound to be one that fits in with your finish goal as there are loads of categories this year (find out more at the expo).
The other thing to do would be to familiarise yourself with the course, so that you can have it in your mind's eye as you run. You can set yourself in-race targets to reach, so that you are breaking the distance down into manageable chunks, rather than seeing it in its entirety. You can reward yourself (either with words, or fuel, or a quick stretch/shake out) when you reach each target.
Finally, keep your head up as you run. It's not only good for your running posture, it allows you to make eye contact with other runners, spectators - which means you'll smile more. And smiling sends relaxing signals to your brain!
My favourite mantras are 'easy light smooth' and the slightly more wordy 'I am running fast and strong' Good luck!