Being mentally weak is the reason I ran so poorly at the Twin Cities Marathon this year. I didn't go into the race with a great mental plan and I ended up doubting myself the whole time. Even when I'd get bursts of energy or encouragement, I'd still tell myself that I'm going to fail. The Sunburst Marathon tested my confidence in my running ability; the Twin Cities Marathon destroyed it.
Even though I may never run another marathon in my life (more on that in another post), if I learned anything from my marathon training class at the U, it's the importance of always staying positive. Of course, life will throw it's fair share of crap at you. Bills, work-related stress, dirty house, awful race, what-have-you. As long as you look for the positive in any situation and find joy in the things you do, you'll always make it through. Even if you run an awful marathon (or two).
Dennis Barker is the head coach of Team USA Minnesota. He's spent most of his career researching mental training and offers some great advice on how to prepare your mind for a big race. I used word cues during the Eau Claire Marathon and I'm convinced that they were the reason I did so well.
Anyone who is training for any sort of running event this year must watch this video. (And not just because I make a cameo appearance).