What a difference a day makes. On Saturday morning, I was trudging a weary, slow five miles into a wind that seemed to be switching around maliciously, so that a circular route was done entirely into a headwind. Yesterday I went for my longest run yet – 20 miles (2hr 36min) – and what a joy to run in sunshine and calm. I think returning knackered, but not soaked and battered, has even helped my recovery, as I feel surprisingly sprightly this morning. Well, relatively speaking … I still went down the stairs sideways first thing.
I spent much of my long run pondering the mental side of running, particularly with these longer distances. The first couple of miles are a (mild) mental battle to overcome the despair that comes when you realise you are only one-tenth of the way through your run. How do you switch off in these early miles and just let them flow?
Then, later on, it is more a battle of brain v legs. The "Hooray, I'm halfway! But … oh God, I've still got 10 miles to go" moment. The "Doing brilliantly, just another, um, 10km to go …" and the "Come on! One more mile! Your legs aren't actually, despite current sensations, going to fall off."
What are your tricks for overcoming the moments when your brain starts to doubt? Please share below the line as always – whether you are marathon training or just starting out.