It’s just 2 days to go to the Edinburgh Marathon!

Running training is done and while there’s no other running work I can do now that will make any difference, I’ll be continuing with my mobility training as that can still help to keep my running feel smooth on the day.

Today and tomorrow is simply about resting, eating well, sleeping well and getting my mental game on!

I think it’s useful to start preparing mentally for the race so you know what you’re going to do and keep nerves in check.

Here’s how I’m going to do it.

Breaking the race down

26.2 miles is a long way and it can be useful to break it down into smaller chunks so it feels less daunting.

An easy way you can do this in Edinburgh is think about running the legs of the relay. The Team Relay is a great feature of the Edinburgh Marathon, where teams of 4 people run the marathon distance between them. I’ve taken part a couple of times and also put a couple of teams in a few of the events and it’s really good fun.

A great way to be part of the marathon without running the whole way yourself!

The legs are 8.3 miles, 5.5 miles, 8 miles and 4.4 miles. I’ll be focusing on each leg at a time then reset at the changeover points.

My other strategy is simply to follow the person in front. I’ve been a pacer at Perth parkrun and know how valuable they can be. While there’s no official pacers at Edinburgh, finding someone who’s running the same pace I want to run at, and following them round, can potentially make things a lot easier.

Creating a story

I always tell my Running Coaching clients, who are training for marathons, to think about the story they want to be able to tell everyone about what they’ve done, how they did it then go create it.

How do you want to feel when you see the finish line ahead of you? How do you want to feel when you’ve crossed the finish line? Go make it happen.

Many people just want to finish the race and that will happen. We all feel inspired by great stories of those who have achieved incredible things and so it’s time for you and I to be the people who inspire others.

The story I want to tell is that age doesn’t have to be a barrier to achieving the things you’ve always wanted to do. My main target is to go sub 3:15 and qualify for a Good For Age place in the London Marathon. I’m 52 and so even getting a PB after 25 years of running marathons would be pretty special.

Enjoy the journey

The whole of marathon training has been a journey and I believe the marathon is a journey too. The race is a celebration of all the training we’ve done.

Feeling anxious about having done enough training or running at a specific pace is perfectly natural.

Trying to feel relaxed this close to the race could feel harder than the actual race but it could be your superpower. 

I like to get into the position where I feel like I’m going there with a job to do, when I head to the start line. That comes back to thinking of the story I want to tell, breaking the race down into smaller chunks, how I want to feel and generally thinking of how I’m going to run.

The more we can relax and feel like we’re going with a purpose, the better we will likely run.

I was served with a timely reminder yesterday when it was the 9th anniversary of the last time I ran the Edinburgh Marathon and this was my race photo…

Edinburgh Marathon | Steve Bonthrone

The marathon happened to be the last part of the “hairy”. I ran all 4 races (5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon) as part of a fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of my Dad who passed away the year before.

The photo appeared on the event social media channels in the aftermath and was also used on posters for Macmillan.

Every time I see this photo, it brings back lots of memories from that day and the emotions I felt. I will be aiming to recapture these memories and also create new ones.

In the words of Eminem in his song Lose Yourself, “So here I go it’s my shot, feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got”.

If you’re running, how are you feeling? Hope you have the run you can treasure for years to come