A Mission for Your MarathonWhether or not you believe in a higher power, there's no doubt that overcoming "the wall" sometimes requires more than just fitness, pacing or food. "The wall" is often a result of the conversation your body is having with your mind. You body says, "Mind, you've had me out here for hours, running hard and feeding me strawberry banana gels and green sports drink. I am really, really hurting right now and want to go lay down on the side of the road because things aren't going my way."
It sounds silly now, but truth be told it's a very convincing argument in the heat of the race. In order to be ready for this challenge, it helps to have a mission or a higher goal that you can call upon to trump what your body is suggesting. It could be finishing in a certain time or a vision of the finish line or a promise you made to yourself. Whatever it is that has kept you training for weeks and months, now is the time to bring out that secret weapon and use it to keep "the wall" down.
Embrace the ChallengeKeep your friends close...and your enemies closer. Every time you hit "the wall" is another chance to learn more about it--and yourself. Like a superhero and his/her nemesis, you and "the wall" are once again set for a showdown. What will the nemesis bring this time? A cramp? A heat wave? Overwhelming fatigue? It only has so many options, and eventually you will learn to beat them all just like your teenager can beat that evil boss on level five of their favorite video game. So don't fear "the wall." Know that this is just one of many chances you'll have to conquer it, and every encounter makes you stronger!
What Do You Do?While you can't actually eliminate "the wall" from your next big race, these are some of the most effective means of reducing its impact on your overall performance. If you have any additional ways of handling the inevitable race-day challenge, please let us know in the comments below. Sign up for your next marathon race.