Mental vs Physical
We often ask ourselves which takes more strength. You can be physically tough but if you don’t have the mental toughness no amount of physical strength can get you over the line (well it can but just not where you thought you would finish).
Its all mental
We continually learn that our mental state of mind often controls how we perform in a sporting activity. Going into a race with a negative mindset often makes the race harder not to mention longer. If we turn our thoughts around and believe in our 1) training 2) our ability 3) the task at hand and 4) smile throughout the race suddenly everything seems that much easier and we begin to enjoy the ride (or run).
Cannot get any fitter
This weekend we participate in one of the toughest ultra marathons in Australia, Ultra Trail Australia (UTA). We have methodically followed a training plan for the past 5 months that will see us achieve another personal goal as we cross the finish line – 100km after we crossed the start line.
More than just running
Planning to run an ultra marathon takes more than being able to run, its takes a whole lot of mental toughness, planning and commitment.
A few golden rules
- Commit to the challenge and more importantly, the training
- Listen to your body and understand when it feels good and not so good
- Come rain, hail or shine TRAIN – this is where the magic happens
- Reminded yourself that the training is the hard part, the race the reward
- Believe in your ability to succeed
- Always tell yourself that you are running your own race, the only person we are training/running against is you
- Never succumb to excuses; excuses are not part of your vocabulary
- Stay true to your race plan
The lead up
The week of the race is always the fastest and hardest of all. The official countdown to a race is usually 10 weeks as this is when the training gets serious. As the weeks get marked off before you know it you look at your plan and it says at the top ‘RACE WEEK’. So what now?
- You are where you are meant to me (that’s if you followed your training plan). You can’t get any fitter that work was done long ago so now time to focus on the race
- 4-6 days prior to the race start carb-loading (not garb-loading), its time to stock the muscles full of glycogen
- Include protein in your diet during this time as this will help with recovery and reduce the chance of illness
- 2-3 days prior to the race reduce your fibre and protein intake and make carbs the focus
- 3-5 days out, replace water with electrolytes to ensure your sodium levels are topped up, drinking water alone will flush out much needed electrolytes
- The day before the race go for a 15-20min easy jog with a few 15sec efforts, time to wake the body up as during taper week you can feel heavy and lethargic
- Don’t try anything new, you have trained hard so don’t mess it up with something you have never tried before
- Make sure you have breakfast but nothing too heavy – crumpets or muffins with nut butter, golden syrup or jam
- Sip on electrolytes and avoid caffeine if you can, this is a known diretic
- Stick to the race and nutrition plan – don’t start too fast or skip your nutrition
- Remember the half way point isn’t the exact half way point, its two thirds into the race so pace yourself and stick to the plan
- Run where you can and walk where you have too, don’t use unnecessary energy fighting up a hill when you don’t necessarily have too
- Stay relaxed, where else would you rather be? Work? Shopping? The great outdoors provide the ultimate distraction so if it all gets too much just look around and think how lucky you are
- Smile – a smile always makes things seem easier
Over the next few days we will free our mind of any negative thoughts and replace with positive ones in order to start the race in the best shape possible. We have trained the body now its time to train the mind. See you on the start line.