Completing a marathon is the ultimate goal for long distance runners and endurance athletes. While we all know the physical strain on your body of endurance sports, something we often fail to think about is the mental strain. Prepare yourself emotionally for that marathon with our guide to the 7 stages of emotion when running a marathon:
The Starting High
The gun has gone off, you’ve crossed the start line, you’re ready and raring to go. No matter what happens, you can now say you’ve run in a marathon, and even better, you’re doing great. The crowd is cheering around you, the adrenaline is flowing, you’re feeling enthusiastic and pumped for what’s to come.
The 5K realisation
You’ve run countless 5ks; they’re easy and fun. You’ve hit 5k, you can do this! But then you realise you have just over seven more 5k race lengths to go.
The problem with the first 5k is how great you’ve felt up to this point. Thanks to the camaraderie of race day and the crowds lining the streets for the first few miles, you might have pushed yourself a little harder than your usual run and are started to feel the first touches of fatigue. This is the point where you might notice the first-timers and poor planners falling behind.
The 8-12 mile pain
You’ll be starting to feel the pain emotionally and physically. Even if you’re used to long distance running, feeling a twinge in your calf, a dull ache in your stomach, and the fatigue in your brain. Running isn’t just about pushing yourself physically; you’ll reach a point where mentally, you’re frustrated. You haven’t reached that halfway marker but the starting high has worn off, you’ve exhausted your playlist, and you’re starting to feel the boredom and loneliness of a marathon when everyone’s settled into their pace.
Here is where it’s key to know your limits and your pacing. Take control of your own health by knowing these limits in advance with NutriQlu’s fitness DNA test which can help you better understand your predisposition towards excelling or struggling with the endurance you’ll need at this point. If you can balance out your mindset with your physical feels, you can power through.
Mile 13 hope
After an eternity, you reach the halfway point! Here’s where you’ll experience your second wind. The tribe you’ve gathered around you, who you’ve run and struggled with for the last 13 miles, have experienced a solidarity like no other, and you can celebrate this milestone. You’re ready to push on through the next half of the marathon – you can do this!
Mile 18 regret
Did I just say I could do this – what have I done, signing up for a marathon?! At mile 18, you hit The Wall. You might feel like you’ve hit rock bottom and can’t go on, but don’t wallow in self-pity at the miles you have still to come.
Keep motivated by thinking about that finish line, how far you’ve already come and the training you’ve completed. You know your body can do this, just keep going – one step at a time.
“So close!” at mile 23
Mile 23, you’re so close! Here’s where the determination sets in – the end is in sight. You’ve pushed through The Wall, smashed it down, and you’re still going strong.
The feeling of completing a marathon is like no other. You are among a select group who have made it through 26 miles of pure accomplishment. At this point, your aching calves, blistered feet and wobbly legs are long forgotten – as you cross the finish line, you are a celebrity, you are the epitome of human achievement and emotion. There may be cheers or tears, or a bit of both.
Now it’s time to recuperate and regenerate. While everyone will benefit from a good rehydrating drink, stretches and a mountain of carbs to recover, it’s important to know exactly what your body specifically needs. That fitness DNA test will come in handy here again, teaching you how you can best recuperate, what nutrients your body will need and how you can get them.
And now – celebrate!
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