These next two weeks are key in my preparations for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, with the photo above on my training run today up around Plaine Joux. I find these weeks essential to prepare mentally for the UTMB, to make the best decisions about the equipment to take, and to start to think about a race strategy. My aim is to run slower, but to run more. I’ve been working on the ultra plod for quite a bit, so hopefully it will all come into place during the race.
As many runners I’ve spoken too agree, in these final weeks before a big race, the biggest competitor you are running against, is the one you see in the mirror each morning. It’s you who wakes you up in the night to fret about some minor detail of the race. It’s you who doubts your training when stood on the start line, and it’s you who questions your motivation on the weeks before and during the race when the going gets tough.
That’s why the mental preparations are so important. You need to be so sure of your motivation, and to know exactly what bits you need to work harder on, and where to take it easier, both in the training and during the race. Building up this mental armour is key to beating your worst enemy; yourself. When running I keep picturing crossing the finish line, and focusing on just the timings for the next section. Step by step, mile by mile, until the end.