Strategies for successful mental preparation for a marathon

A marathon is a test in which you have to run 42 km in a row, so it requires high performance physical, tactical, technical and mental preparation, adapted to the effort that we will put in our body and mind.

Although professional athletes participate in this event, many of them are popular runners or people who run for the first time in a marathon after some preparation time and after completing other long distance races (semi marathon, ten thousand meters, etc.). To carry out the preparation of the test are necessary a series of psychological coping strategies ideal for marathon training, As the mental section will be the key for many kilometers.

    Strategies to prepare

    According to sports psychologist Jose María Buceta, runners often use techniques such as stopping thinking, self-learning and attentional refocusing plans because we have seen that what influences the marathon runners the most in the test are their thoughts.

    In this way, through appropriate psychological training, athletes they use strategies such as coping to interrupt harmful mental activity and replace it with one that promotes exceeding those critical times and does not slow down test performance.

      Associative and dissociative strategies

      Authors Morgan and Pollock argued that the mental activity of marathoners is defined by associative and dissociative strategies. The former are based on attention, reflection or self-dialogue about one’s own bodily sensations or the activity involved in the race (attention to the circuit). The second involves an attentional disconnection from the previous factors in favor of stimuli of other people to the activity, i.e. paying attention to the scenery, music, audience etc. These strategies change depending on the type of broker.

      Jose Maria Buceta saw that in the case of popular runners, associative and dissociative activity can be relevant to their performance goals. However, when it comes to runners who want to have good times, it is best to use associative strategies for most of the race, alternating them with dissociative strategies at the less critical times.

      What are the emotional phases of a marathon?

      We can see that psychologically, fatigue, fatigue and wear and tear occur, As there are many kilometers included in this test. Vich defines different stages or “emotional phases” that we go through depending on the kilometers traveled.

      Emotional phases of the Marathon (Vic, 2002):


      Finally, stress again that the Marathon it is conditioned by both physical and psychological qualities, Because to cope with such a prolonged physical exertion, it requires a lot of mental strength. This is why faced with it, it is also necessary to work and train the mental part in order to manage the feelings of fatigue and fatigue linked to the test.

      It is essential to try to give the same importance to the physical part as to the psychological part if one wants to obtain a good performance on the test.

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