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Strategies for a successful mental preparation of a Marathon

Strategies for a successful mental preparation of a Marathon

June 12, 2024

A Marathon is a test in which you have to run for 42 km in a row, so it requires a physical, tactical, technical and mental preparation of high performance, appropriate to the effort that we are going to submit to our body and mind.

Although there are professional athletes participating in this test, many of them are popular runners or people who are presented for the first time to a Marathon after a time of preparation and after the completion of other long distance races (half marathon, ten thousand meters, etc.). In order to carry out the preparation for said test, a series of ideal psychological coping strategies to train for the Marathon , because the mental section will be key for many kilometers.

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Strategies to prepare

According to the psychologist specialized in sports, Jose Maria Buceta, runners usually use techniques such as the stop of thought, self-instructions and attention refocus plans because it has been seen that what most influences the Marathoners in the test are the thoughts.

In this way, through proper psychological training, athletes they use strategies such as coping to interrupt harmful mental activity and replace it with another that favors the overcoming of those critical moments and does not decrease the performance in the test.

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Associative and dissociative strategies

The authors Morgan and Pollock stated that the mental activity of the Marathoners was defined by associative and dissociative strategies. The first are based on paying attention, having thoughts or self-talk about one's own bodily sensations or the activity involved in the race (attention to the circuit). The second ones involve an attentional disconnection of the above factors to the benefit of stimuli unrelated to the activity, that is, to look at the landscape, music, the public, etc. These strategies change depending on the type of broker .

Jose María Buceta saw that in the case of popular corridors, both associative and dissociative activity may be relevant to their performance objectives. However, in the case of runners who wish to perform good times, it is preferable to use associative strategies during most of the race, alternating them with dissociative strategies in less critical moments.

What are the emotional phases of a Marathon?

It can be observed that on a psychological level fatigue, fatigue and wear occurs , since many kilometers are included in this test. Vich establishes different stages or "emotional phases" by which it passes depending on the kilometers that we are.

Emotional phases of the Marathon (Vich, 2002):


To finish, highlight again that the Marathon is conditioned by both physical and psychological qualities , since it is such a long physical effort, it requires a lot of mental hardness. Therefore when we face it, we must work and train also the mental part with the aim of managing the feelings of tiredness and fatigue that are linked to the test.

It is fundamental to try to give the same importance to the physical section as to the psychological one if we want to obtain a good performance in the test.

The Mental Side of Running: Tips and Techniques to Motivate and Inspire (June 2024).

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