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In the run up to the ABP Marathon, Darren Britton, Lecturer in Sport Psychology at Solent discusses the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing during training.

16th August 2021

Training for a marathon can be incredibly rewarding and motivating. However, there can also be tough days, where we just can’t seem to pull ourselves together and get those running shoes on. It’s perfectly normal for our motivation to fluctuate from time to time but it can be a detriment to our mental wellbeing if we stay in a rut for too long and get stuck.

So here are five tips to help you get unstuck, moving forward again with your training, and taking care of your mental wellbeing…

  1. Set an open goal
    • When motivation is floundering, we can get ourselves back in the groove by setting more open goals. Rather than being fixed and rigid with the length and time of your training runs, give yourself the freedom and flexibility to explore how far or how long you can run for. Open goals have been found to encourage running ‘flow’.
  2. Resting is doing
    • Our rest and recovery can be negatively affected by our attitude towards it. There can be a societal pressure to always be ‘doing things’, leading us to neglect the rest and recovery we need when training for a marathon or run. So try and block out time in your schedule for rest and recovery as if it were an activity in itself.
  3. My best run
    • Ask yourself, if you woke up tomorrow morning and were the most motivated, happy runner you could be, how would you know? What would be the first few signs when you woke up that would tell you were about to run your best run? Developing a clear picture of what we do when we are at our best is key to giving ourselves a ‘mental playbook’ to work from.
  4. Know what motivates you
    • Who do you find yourself competing against most? Other runners? Or yourself? Are you focused on being faster than other runners? Or faster than you were yesterday? Depending on your motivational style, different tricks could be used to keep your motivation up. If you look to other runners for motivation, run with them or use a running app to compare times and distances. If you’d rather focus on yourself, avoid such apps and set your own goals and targets.
  5. Be your best supporter
    • When you’re going through a rough patch and feeling stuck, think of your biggest supporter. Who would you most want to see on the side lines cheering you on on race day? Now imagine what they would say to you in this moment?

Solent University is working with partners across the city. Find out more here, along with how you can get involved in the ABP Marathon.

Solent’s partnership with the ABP Marathon is just one example of the University’s approach to civic and public engagement. The University works with a number of partners to deliver the commitments set out within its Civic Charter. Find out more here.

To discover or more or to discover how your organisation can get involved contact engagement@solent.ac.uk.