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Marathon Training: Week 22

A confident head space, a piece of cake.

Like baking a cake, we’ve pulled together the separate ingredients of endurance, speed and technique over the last 21 weeks. The cake now needs to “rise”, our focus and energy shifting toward getting our mind into a confident space. A week of mental confidence boosting. The physical training tapers down,.. sharpening up with short, intense sessions. We’ll talk about the icing on your cake next week with race-day tips and strategy.

This last week is a good week to get those nervous butterflies that inevitably start to flock in the lead up to an important race like this, flying in formation.

Most athletes start to feel very nervous in the lead up week to their event. It’s very normal and in fact, nervousness is a very good sign, showing that you’re very motivated to doing your best in the marathon. This is the perfect state of mind to do some planning for peak performance. Excessive nerves can interfere with your sleep, your bowels, and confidence, so get them working for you.

A. “What you resist, persists”

So don’t resist the nerves, embrace them. Fully accept it, knowing that even the top contenders feel nervous, yet they go ahead to pull out world record performances. Then observe, as slowly but surely, you move through the feeling, to a relaxed ease and confidence.

B. Perfect pre-play

Sport psychology is rich in research on visualization techniques. As a brief summary, you can get very real benefits by pre-playing your perfect race in your mind. It’s important that you pre-play your perfect race, but realistic race. Ie, it’s not realistic that you’ll break world records if you’ve not done that level of training, but it would be powerful and perfect to visualise yourself achieving or exceeding your target time.

Imagine it in rich detail as if you are seeing it through your own eyes, feeling it, and hearing it. Gliding with efficient, easy strides, full breathing. The contented and confident smile on your face, the goosebumps of excitement on the back of your neck as you realize you’re running to target, the encouraging comments you make to the people you pass, the cheering from the supportive crowds, your positive self-talk, the stunning Queenstown scenery as it whizzes past, and the time on the finish line clock that you want to see.

Now replay that but turbo-boosted, enhanced with even more vivid colours, louder, more exciting sounds. Add the smells and tastes of your success.

C. Attitude from here on in

Now that you’ve visualized how you’d like your perfect race day to be, work backwards from race day to this moment to determine what you’d have to do from this moment onwards for this to be able to be a reality. Visualise the days leading up to the race as you would like them to be. Research shows that successful achievers create their reality with this sort of imagination, they have a degree of control on how life events unfold ahead of them by designing their attitude. Living on purpose. What sort of attitude would you need for this to happen for you?

Now visualise how it will be after the race, in the way that you want it. How will you feel, what will you be saying, what will you be seeing?

D. Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance

I make a brain-dump of everything that could possibly go wrong and then set about planning preventions.

Here are a few common examples:

  • Getting injured this week:

    • Be conservative, no new, risky activities.

  • Getting sick this week:

    • Avoid folks with a cold etc, get early nights, eat really healthy, take multivits, reduce your stress levels.

  • Needing a toilet stop in the race:

    • Go to the toilet close to the race start. There are likely to be queues, so plan enough time for #2’s, or pee behind a tree for #1’s.

  • Getting the stitch or uncomfortable stomach:

    • Practice all of your training this week simulating race times, early breakfast, morning run.

  • Blisters:

Next Thursday, I’ll give you some race day motivation ideas and race day strategies.

Week Twenty two training schedule:

Thursday 13th Nov

Warm-up jog; 15 minutes

Pick-ups x 10 as follows:

30 seconds hard, then walk for 30 seconds, jog for 2 minutes.

Pick-ups are simply reminding your cardio-vascular system (heart / lungs) what it’s like near maximum, but then immediately backing right off to walk/jog. Lots of recovery is important. Ideally up a hill.

Warm-down jog; 15 minutes

Friday 14th Nov

REST DAY. Ideally book a sports massage for recovery.

Saturday 15th Nov

45 to 60 minutes EASY endurance run.

Start at 8 am.

Eat breakfast 2 hours prior.

Soft trails such as dirt, gravel, grass etc to avoid injury.

Stretch straight after, and ideally get a massage to aid recovery.

Sunday 16th Nov

Easy walk or hike, eg with friends or family. 30 mins. Make it scenic and fun.

Monday 17th Nov

Warm-up jog; 15 minutes

Pick-ups x 7 (s on Thursday, but only x 7)

Warm-down 15 minutes

Tuesday 18th Nov

Warm-up 5 mins.

Fartlek 20 mins. (speed-play, little sprints on undulations interspersed between easy)

Warm-down 10 mins.

(No time trial this week)

Wednesday 19th Nov

Steve’s Strength and conditioning clinic:

5:30pm sharp! til 6:30 pm Meet 5:25pm at the Tennis courts on the grassy banks Lake Avenue, Frankton, Queenstown.

Alternative: 30 mins, easy pace jogging with fartlek

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