In the previous article we reflect about how to develop our psychological capacity in order to improve our sports performance. We assume the importance of falling in love with running (physical activity) besides the competition. So we analyse how to improve our goals running the marathon with our feet, mind and heart, as well as increasing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Now we will focus on another useful psychological tool for a marathon. We will attempt to improve your psychological skills. To do this, we should think again. So take a couple of seconds before answering these questions: does winning depend on you? Or does it depend on you to be on the top 100? Even I would dare to ask you: Does it just depend on you to be in the goal time you have set?
If you answer yes to some of these three questions, it means that you can develop your psychological skills even more. However, don’t worry, it’s curious but it is very common to think so. But in order to reach the sports excellence we will need a psychological attitude in a challenge state.
Sometimes a sports lover takes a break, days go by without doing anything, because it is required by his heart or health, but his love for running is constantly active. He doesn’t commit the deadly sin of laziness, because he knows where it may lead; to that feeling of empty evenings when the time passes... And nothing happens.
I wanted to start with the previous paragraph in an attempt to summarise my current reality regarding sports in general and marathon in particular, mainly focusing on my participation in upcoming the DISA GRAN CANARIA MARATHON 2015.
My name is Pili Ramos and I have been running almost for 30 years, my first marathon was in Paris, 1999, since my debut in long runs with a good time of 2h38’. I have to admit that since my first participation I did fall in love with long runs, I felt that I have found my place after so many years preparing short-distance races, although, I also liked them and gave me great joy, but nothing in comparison to how integrated I felt training and running for a marathon.
When the countdown shows less than 60 days remaining for the Disa Gran Canaria Marathon 2015, it is the moment to develop your psychological skills facing the race. In the following weeks we will be sharing essential information which can be useful to face this amazing challenge.
To achieve this goal, firstly, we should reflect carefully. Take a couple of seconds to answer the following question: What do you like about running: the competition or the physical activity?
I would like that the previous question was the starting point. Taking into account what you have answered and being aware of what you had been more focused on until now.
What consequences can cause competitive running? There are several. For example, one of them, if you just focus on the running race day, and that day you start the race and you don’t have good feelings, your mind will be invaded by interfering thoughts such as: “I should run faster” or “At a slow pace I will not set my time goal”, etc.; for the previous reasons your heart will be filled with frustration and helplessness which will decrease your full potential/strength. In other occasions, one of the consequences of just concentrating on the competition is the lack of motivation to run daily, especially, if the race is in the distant future or it is over, if weather conditions are terrible or your friends are not coming to train someday.
Roman Dirksen (1988, Hannover), student of Sport and Biological Education at the University of Hannover, is currently an Erasmus student in Gran Canaria until February/March 2015. At the same time –as he says- “can enjoy here such a paradise of sports every day”.
It is an honor for me to be invited to talk about marathons even though I have run only one so far in my life. It may be quite daring talking about it but I have received this invitation to share my experience.
I have always practiced sports: beach volleyball, running and surf. Nevertheless, I have always played football in Germany, the most popular sport in the country. So the only training I had when I faced my first marathon was a football player’s training. And so I suffered so much! But let’s go one step at a time.
If Antonio Machado said that his childhood was all memories of a patio in Seville I would say that for all "palmenses" (people who are from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) our childhood is all memories of Las Canteras beach. Evenings playing football at la Cicer, traditional games on the sand (el clavo), mornings with your father going to the natural barrier, ice creams at Peña la Vieja, having bread and chocolate snacks. That is why I think Las Canteras promenade is a great choice for the last kilometres of the marathon, when every step is so hard to take. For people from abroad it is always a pleasure to run in such a beautiful place, in front of the sonorous Atlantic Ocean which Tomas Morales sang. For the local people it gets an emotional value that is priceless.
In 2009, I ran my first marathon in Zaragoza, since then I have participated in 10, finishing 9. Except, the occasion of 2011 I have run all the races of Gran Canaria's marathon. There are faster marathons, more massive, cheaper and more expensive. To me the marathon in Gran Canaria is the loveliest, the one I mostly enjoy. I do not intend to be objective. The possibility to run in your hometown, supported by your people, makes it more enjoyable. But in any case I think this marathon also acquires a special interest for those who do not belong either the island or the city. The epic of cross-country sports is always sacrifice, effort, suffering. However, and under the effort that running a marathon always involves, this is one in which more than suffering you enjoy running. Although you did not go down in the history of the world athletics neither set your best record.
The veteran athlete José Arencibia, finisher in three marathons (one of those was the DISA Gran Canaria Marathon) analyzed the last kilometers of the new route.
“From kilometer 16 to 17 – Mapfre’s building passing along Manuel Becerra St. until Juan Rejón St. - it is a stretch between buildings that protect the runners against the wind, but coming back through the same way will result a little bit tiresome”.
“From kilometer 17 to 18 – Albareda St., Sagasta St., until Pasaje de las Islas St. – after having run many kilometers, the protection of buildings and the wide space until Santa Catalina Park will be very welcome. Coming back through Sagasta St. could be hard, but it is the faster stretch close to the finish line”.
“From kilometer 18 to 19 – Pasaje de las Islas St., Tenerife St. getting to Paseo de Las Canteras- this stretch is the entrance to the beach avenue which is long, straight and therefore makes it quite comfortable and also it is very close to the finish line.
“From kilometer 19 to 21 – Paseo de Las Canteras St. until the finish line – crowds cheering you on along the final stretch may make easier the last kilometers before arriving to the finish line. For runners, it is awesome to be encouraged by the spectators who create such a great atmosphere during the last 500 meters of the race. This is something that not all marathons can offer”.
“This route is much faster than the previous ones and it is much better in general”.
Gustavo Adolfo Santana is a runner with more than 20 years of experience in athleticism who started running for competition but now he participates only in popular races. He wanted to share with us his impressions about the route of 10K of the DISA Gran Canaria Marathon.
"The first stretch seems quite difficult because of the turns, but once you arrive to Mesa y Lopez, where the road is pretty good, it becomes a fast and comfortable route until the street Juan Rejon.
We find the first turns near the Shopping Center El Muelle, but at this point of the course the group will be already dispersed.
In the second part, from the kilometer 5, the main difficulty may be that the road surface could be wet.
If the road surface is dry, runners will 'fly' thanks to the spectators that will be supporting them during the last kilometers.
Sergio Domínguez, who has run more than 60 Half-Marathons, analyzes from kilometer 11 to 15 of the DISA Gran Canaria Marathon.
“From kilometer 10 to 11– Venegas through Luis Doreste Silva – flat, fast and quite comfortable stretch protected from the wind by the buildings”.
“From kilometer 11 to 12 – Luis Doreste Silva until getting to Avenida Marítima- it is a wider area and less protected from the wind”.
“From kilometer 12 to 14 – Avenida Marítima passing through Club Náutico until the Shopping Center El Muelle – it is a faster stretch but it will depend on the wind on the race day. If there is no wind, then running will be very comfortable as it is a flat stretch and downhill”.
“Finally, from kilometer 14 to 15 – from the Shopping Center El Muelle until Mapfre’s Building – it is very similar to the previous stretches, although the road can still have some bumps and surface changes.
“The difficulty of these 5 kilometers will be determined by the wind on the race day, since in normal conditions it is a comfortable area to run. It can be difficult on the second lap if the wind blows against the runner”.