It’s Marathon Weekend and this Sunday more than 36,000 runners will cross the finish line at the 35th London Marathon. The number of finishers will reach around 960,000. An incredible physical feat for amateurs and professionals alike, there is also a very strong mental component to the 26 mile race.
We asked psychologist Elaine Slater, also a practicing Buddhist of 15 years, for her advice on staying present, mindful and focused this Sunday. Here are her 8 top tips.
1. Stay mentally tough. Don’t give in to periods of self-doubt and discomfort. Remember to have faith in all the training that you have done.
2. When you need to dig deep for extra strength, remind yourself how you’ve worked through your fatigue during your training runs and how you can do it again.
3. Don’t get too emotional – stay as calm as possible, and conserve your mental energy.
4. Maintain your focus on just getting from one moment to the next. Be patient – a marathon is not won in the first few miles, but it can be lost there.
5. If you find yourself in a tough painful moment, remind yourself it will soon be just a memory.
6. When you start to feel pain, discomfort or tiredness – think outside your body. Allow your mind to take over from your body and focus on what is happening around you for example other runners, spectators and the scenery.
7. To the human mind, there is no difference between an actual experience and an imagined one. Using visualisation techniques imagine in your mind’s eye a successful race with a positive outcome.
8. Keep your focus with self-affirmations; repeat pre-prepared positive running mantras for example “I can do this”.
Elaine is a psychologist in private practice with consulting rooms on Wimpole Street, London. She is a consultant therapist for the Priory Hospital and is the resident therapist for London Fashion Week. Elaine is a passionate advocate for energising and inspiring the integrity and wisdom to ‘live consciously’. She delivers a bespoke journey to ultimate wellbeing; cultivating your pure potential to live your best life and discover your most quintessential self.