My sixth marathon, Mountains 2 Beach is now a short 4.5 weeks away. As part of my preparation I’ve been reading Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? I must confess this is my third time through this book 😏. Last night the following words hit home in a big way. When I think back to my first marathon I can still remember the difficulty and the sheer exhaustion I felt upon completion. That first marathon took almost 6 hours to complete. Mentally, I know that I expect it to get easier with increased fitness when in fact it should be harder because I’m running harder. So the mental preparation for M2B will be bracing…and having run the course I know where I’ll be challenged so I’ll embrace that challenge.
“In the context of endurance competition, this “favorable contrast” can enhance performance. The more discomfort an athlete expects, the more she can tolerate, and the more discomfort she can tolerate, the faster she can go. It’s no wonder, then, that champion endurance athletes habitually brace themselves for important races. The great British runner Mo Farah told a reporter for The Daily Mirror ahead of his first marathon, “This will be the hardest race of my life.” He wasn’t being negative; he was bracing himself.
You never know how much your next race is going to hurt. Perception of effort is mysterious. You can push yourself equally hard in two separate races and yet somehow feel “on top of” your suffering in one race and overwhelmed by it in the other. Because you never know exactly what you’ll find inside that black box until you open it, there is a temptation to hope—perhaps not quite consciously—that your next race won’t be one of those grinding affairs. This hope is a poor coping skill. Bracing yourself—always expecting your next race to be your hardest yet—is a much more mature and effective way to prepare mentally for competition.”
Excerpt From: Fitzgerald, Matt. “How Bad Do You Want It?.” VeloPress. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright. Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/9Bx_-.l
Today I’m personally thankful for: this good book; Mary Jones who helped me nail my last lap at track last night; good coaching.