Marathon Running Mental Toughness & Motivation Tips​

#1. Use pre-race imagery

  • Picture yourself in the event during training runs.
  • Imagine what you want to look like as you run. Consider your:
    • Posture
    • Body language
    • Smile
  • Picture yourself successfully battling pain and exhaustion.
  • Envision yourself crossing the finish line.

#2. Create a mental of the course

  • Use landmarks to trigger a mental reaction.
  • Break the race down and choose your focus and attitude for each stretch.
  • Have a focus plan for pain and exhaustion.
  • Imagine dealing with obstacles such as:
    • A crowded starting line
    • An untied shoe lace
    • Large groups of people along the course

#3. Have tricks to keep you focused

  • Simplify the race (left, right, left, right…).
  • Stay in the present. Don’t worry about how much you still have left.
  • Listen to music or count.

#4. Use in-race imagery

  • Break through the wall, mentally.
  • Imagine the sunshine pulling away the pain.
  • Picture scenes from Rocky.

#5. Watch your self-talk

  • Be your own biggest fan. Cheer yourself on!
  • Don’t say anything to yourself you wouldn’t let anyone else get away with.
  • Change negatives to positives (pain = working hard).

#6. Remember that confidence is a choice

Preparation and trust are the keys to confidence.

  • “Flag the minefield.”
  • Act the way you want to feel to create those feelings of confidence.
  • Focus on what you can control.

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).

UPMC Rooney Sports Complex
3200 S. Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
8000 Cranberry Springs Drive
Cranberry Township, PA 16066