John Feeney’s marathon training tips - week seven

editorial image
0
Have your say

ARE you training for a marathon this year? Do you want some inside knowledge on how to get the best out of your training, or hints and tips to help you on the way?

ARE you training for a marathon this year? Do you want some inside knowledge on how to get the best out of your training, or hints and tips to help you on the way?

Each week we will be bringing you the training diary of endurance sport specialist John Feeney.

He is writing a weekly schedule on topics covering everything from running physiology and training to choosing the right footwear, recovery and tapering.

For week seven, Feeney writes: With just three weeks to go until the Brighton Marathon your body should be ready and raring to go.

However, come race day, it’s equally important to ensure that your mind is in good shape.

Elite performers place great emphasis on concentration and focus. During the toughest moments in a marathon, Paula Radcliffe maintained concentration by counting from one to 100 which helped her ward off negative thoughts.

Sir Clive Woodward has stated that England rugby is all about ‘head space’, and when our head space right, we are unstoppable.

During the marathon, there will be a number of factors demanding your attention which could make you lose concentration.

These can be broadly grouped into external factors such as the crowd, other runners and weather conditions or internal factors such as past performances, motivation and the degree of fatigue you may be experiencing.

The strategies adopted to deal with these different factors can be either associative or dissociative.

An associative strategy focuses attention on bodily sensations and factors critical to performing the task, whilst a dissociative strategy attempts to avoid thinking about them.

For elite athletes, it’s suggested that associative strategies may be linked to higher performance levels.

This is because it allows them to be aware of their general physical condition, allowing pace to be altered or more fluid to be consumed in order to maximise performance.

However, for the majority of us, excessive inward attention during the race may exaggerate feelings of discomfort and mean we miss the special race day atmosphere.

It’s therefore important to find a balance by making brief but regular checks on your physical condition and pace, rather than constant monitoring.

Most attention should be focused externally allowing you to enjoy the race atmosphere whilst maintaining an awareness of critical factors such as pacing.