10 tips for an Ultra Marathon Mental Plan4 min read
Are you preparing for an ultra marathon and feeling overwhelmed by the mental challenges that come with it? Running an ultra marathon is not just a physical challenge, but also a mental one. It requires a strong mental plan to overcome the doubts and fears that may arise during training and the race itself. Here we give 10 tips for an ultra marathon mental plan that will help you stay focused, motivated, and confident throughout your journey. Whether you’ve completed ultra marathons previously or are a first-timer, these tips will help you overcome mental barriers and achieve your goals. So, let’s dive in and explore the mental strategies that will help you conquer your next ultra marathon
Set realistic goals: Before the race, set realistic but challenging goals for yourself. This will help you stay focused and motivated throughout training and during the race itself. Have a measure of what success looks like for you and go after it with everything you’ve got.
Visualise success: Visualise yourself crossing the finish line and achieving your goals. This will help you stay motivated and focused during the race. During training, visualise yourself completing long runs and overcoming mental barriers. Visualise yourself feeling strong and powering past obstacles as they arise.
Stay positive: It is inevitable that negative thoughts start to creep in, when they do replace them with positive thoughts or affirmations. For example, instead of thinking “I can’t do this,” think “I am strong and capable.” During training, focus on the progress you’ve made through this journey and the improvements you’ve seen.
Use positive mantras and affirmations: Use positive self-talk or positive mantras to keep yourself motivated and focused. Repeat affirmation phrases like “I can do this” or “I am strong” to yourself throughout the race and during training. The more frequent you think positive thoughts the less chance that negative talk enters your psyche.
Develop coping mechanisms for discomfort: An ultra marathon is going to hurt, at some stage very much. Use your long runs in training and to develop ways to cope when the discomfort feels overwhelming. Put yourself in a place of discomfort often enough and you’ll give yourself the skills to deal with discomfort and pain when it arises in your ultra marathon.
Break the race into smaller segments: Instead of focusing on the entire race, break it into smaller segments. Focus on completing each segment and use that as motivation to keep going. During training, break long runs into smaller segments and focus on completing each one. When you achieve each smaller goal think positively and celebrate with yourself briefly before turning focus to the next box to check.
Stay in the present moment: Don’t worry about what’s ahead or what’s behind you. Stay in the present moment and focus on what you need to do right now. During training, focus on the current run and the current mile rather than worrying about future runs. When the going gets tough narrow your focus. Focus on achieving a very small goal, could be the next step or run to the next lightpost or other physical object on the path.
Stay hydrated and fuelled: Make sure you stay hydrated and fuelled throughout the race. This will help you stay focused and energized. During training, make sure you’re properly fueling and hydrating for long runs. Practise your hydration and fuelling strategy, these will help give you mental confidence that you are on the right path as you will feel better for longer.
Stay connected with your support system: Stay connected with your support system, whether it’s friends, family, or fellow runners. They can provide you with the motivation and encouragement you need to keep going. During training, run with a friend or join a running group for support.
Celebrate your successes: Celebrate your successes along the way, no matter how small they may seem. This will help keep you staying motivated and focused on achieving your goals.
Running an ultra marathon requires a lot of mental preparation and stamina. It’s not just about the physical endurance but also about the mental toughness to keep pushing forward when your mind and body feel like giving up. By implementing the tips discussed we can develop a solid mental plan for an ultra marathon. Remember to stay focused, keep your mind and body nourished, and enjoy the journey. With the right mindset and strategies in place, you can conquer any ultra marathon challenge that comes your way.