How We Mentally Prepare

We have had some readers ask questions about how we mentally prepare for our long events, so I thought today would be a good day to address this topic for a couple of reasons: A) because I need to positively reinforce to myself that we are ready for next week and B) because I need to be practicing some “mental games” over the next week to keep my brain primed for game time.  

The first thing that we make sure to continue to think about and accept is that IT WILL HURT. There is simply zero way around it. Some people think that we are special and that running is just this constant joy for us and that we never feel pain. Well, sorry to tell you but no runner ever gets to the point where running for 48 hours straight is not painful. The key is to ACCEPT the pain. Know it will come. Know it HAS come in the past. Know that you WILL get through it.  

Columbus Marathon Mile 22

The second thing that we tell ourselves repeatedly is that THIS WILL END. Maybe not in the next hour, or 5 hours, or 24 hours, but it will EVENTUALLY end. As we look at Merrill’s Mile, we know that 48 hours is a LONG time. BUT, we also know that a weekend can slip by in a blink. In the grand scheme, 48 hours is not that long. It will hurt, but it will end.  

Emily on back Mt. Adams May 2014

The third and final thing we find super important is to tell ourselves to keep our chins up and our spirits up. IT. WILL. GET. BETTER. The aid station will start cooking grilled cheese, which we will find to be delicious. The sun will rise and we can ditch the headlamps. We will change our shoes and find a totally new outlook on life. We may hit “dark” times but we cannot let ourselves stay there. We need to constantly remind ourselves that long races have phases and the “this really stinks, what have I done” phase cannot last forever if you don’t let yourself dwell on it.    

Keys 100 Halfway 2011

The final thing we have to continuously remind ourselves is WE DO THIS FOR FUN!!! No one is forcing us! This is our God-given joy in life, so let’s have fun with it! And for goodness-sake this is not life or death, so we cannot take it so seriously. We are out there with EACH OTHER doing what WE LOVE with the person in the world that WE LOVE THE MOST so let’s just smile and laugh and run and eat and smile and laugh and eat and run some more until EVENTUALLY the 48 hours is over and the HURTING stops and everything gets BETTER…until the next super long race and then we get to do this dance all over again. 

women's 50 mile winner & coach

We hope you have a terrific weekend, but, first, please tell us: 

How do you mentally prepare for challenges?


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