I have a 20-mile run on Sunday. Pretty soon, I will have a 26.2-mile run. Not exactly easy stuff to get through, but I can get through it. Physically, I feel great and I know that I will be up for those runs when the time comes to run them. But that's not the biggest challenge. Preparing for and running long distances is as much, if not more of, a mental battle than anything else. Many runs and races have been spoiled by a bad mindset.
I'm not exactly sure if I have this mental battle figured out or not but whatever I've got going on upstairs has worked for me. And I'm hoping it continues to work for me.
How do I get mentally prepared for these runs? Simple. I look at it this way: I have two really, really hard runs left this year. One of them is Sunday and the other is Oct. 7. Surely I can give myself all I have to get through these runs. I figure I have anywhere from 70-100 runs left in 2012 - certainly I can handle two of them falling in the "really, really hard" category.
In the grand scheme of things, these runs won't kill me. These runs may push me to the brink but since I don't do them that often, it's okay.
Another way to... well I won't say easily but definitely another way for me to effectively get into the right frame of mind is to keep my goals in front of me. I'm running 20 and then a full marathon within three weeks of each other. I feel like I have to earn the right to call myself a marathoner, a long-distance runner.
Two tough runs left this year? I can handle that. Two runs that will help continue to help me define myself? Sure thing.
Now that I've got my right frame-of-mind in place, I just have to get to Sunday morning. That's a chore in and of itself. Not saying this mindset is fool-proof - I probably won't sleep too much on Saturday night - it will ensure that once I set off on my 20-miler I will be in the right frame of mind, ready to give it all I've got, ready to push myself.
It's not often I'm called to do that after all.