One of my biggest takeaways from running the half marathon is how important the mental aspect of running is. To be honest with you, I really wanted to stop at 2 miles in. Only 11 miles to go!


My right hip was hurting, I was freezing, I had to use the bathroom, I was tired, I was asking myself why I agreed to run 13 miles when I had only ran 3 times to get ready, etc... I thought I would share a few of the mental tricks I used to take my mind off things and get through the rest of the race.


1. Just get THERE

This was the number one thing I used. I would tell myself to just make it to the next light pole, the next water station, the next hill. I did that the entire way. When I thought about how far I had to go I got discouraged, but breaking it up into mini goals kept me going.


2. Pick out an item and start counting it

You can pick out something like a white hat, red shorts, knee brace, etc... and start keeping count. Since I was wearing half sleeves, I counted those. I saw 84 people wearing them if you are curious.


3. Think about your plans after the race

How good it will feel to cross that finish line. Or maybe you have something cool planned for later in the day. Kind of like going to your happy place. Since our race finished at the 50 yard line in Neyland Stadium, I kept picturing myself running through that tunnel, crossing that sweet finish line, and seeing my son cheering me on.

Plus I was really looking forward to a nap.


4. The invisible rope trick

Pick out someone who is ahead of you, picture that you lassoed them with a rope like Wonder Woman, and then picture they are pulling you up to where they are. Sounds crazy I know, but it works.


My wife and I used a slightly different version. There was a guy with a ponytail ahead of us on a hill and we pictured that ponytail dragging us up. This was mile 11, I thought it was hilarious and it did help. I was fairly delirious at the time.

5. Do things as a team

Pick out a runner who is ahead of you and decide to overtake them. I call this one the Lion vs gazelle technique because I always pick out someone who is limping a little. I'm almost certain other people did this to me.


While I don't necessarily recommend doing a half marathon without running, I do recommend finding something outside of your comfort zone to challenge yourself with. The main reason I didn't run a lot to get read was my concern that my knees couldn't take the pounding of all the training mileage. I did learn some alternative methods (besides running) to really increase my endurance though, so all in all it was an awesome experience.