Between now and October 21, iRun is joining forces with New Balance and elite superhero marathon runners Reid Coolsaet and Rachel Hannah to help you run the race of your life. Each week, we’ll present a new instalment from either Hannah or Coolsaet about how to improve one aspect of your running life. But wait, it gets better! Because New Balance also sponsors Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where Coolsaet will be racing and where we’ll be making a special limited-edition race magazine after the race! Want us to profile you and your run? Simply tell us what you do in response to the phenomenon our race Gods are describing. Make sense? For instance, here’s Coolsaet on how to calm the brain mid-race. What do you do? Let us know, and be included—picture and all—besides our cover stars.
Mental focus during the race is a obviously key. Consistency throughout the year, especially in the last three months, all important, but during the race, you need focus.
Ideally you’ll be running in a pack, and I’m thinking about negotiating that and staying with it—even though I’ve never had a marathon where I was able to do that the whole time. Towards the end, when I’m really fighting to not slow down, if I’m checking out the scenery—which I’ll do all the time—I really want to focus, because if I don’t, I’ll slow down when the pain sets in.
So how do you not do that? You override the negative thoughts. You keep your mind on running fast. Sometimes it’s just about thinking of proper form. Better that than, ‘you have an upset stomach,’ or ‘your quads are burning.’ So instead I’ll think: drive your knee. Or else I’ll make myself focus on ‘quick steps.’ You control where your mind goes. My cadence might drop toward the end of a race, so I focus on that, not the pain. The best thing to do is focus only on one kilometre at a time. Don’t think of the whole thing, just the next thing. And if you slip, don’t panic. Don’t try and make up for it in one go, just get back on pace. You do that and your race will just come back to you naturally. The first thing that pops in your head when you start hurting will be negative. So arm yourself with some positives that can override it.
Control your race. Don’t let your race control you.