One Simple Trick the Next Time You’re Struggling in a Race

A pro tip to help you when the going gets tough

by Cindy Kuzma |

Makena Morley didn’t know exactly how she’d feel running 42.2km as the Chicago Marathon would mark her debut at the distance.

But Morley, who was a  2021 Olympic Track and Field Trials qualifier in the 10,000 metres, did have an idea of how she’ll navigate the rough patches.

If doubts creep in — and they might – she’ll give herself a mental “out.”

For at least a half a kilometre, and as much as a kilometre, she forbids herself to look at her watch, which forces her to relax and zone out. “I don’t stress about trying to hit a certain pace,” she told Runner’s World.

When she comes back “in,” she typically finds she’s slipped only a second or two off the pace, if that. But her anxiety has dissipated, refreshing her.

That’s it. That’s the trick: No stressing about pace for a half kay or a kay, and you’ll likely still be right on track, or close to it. But the mental break from worrying about how you’re doing lets you recharge.

The 25-year-old Morley has honed this strategy during a training cycle that’s included her highest mileage weeks, 32km long runs, and hard workouts, such as 12 x 1 mile at marathon pace with a minute rest.

And so far, it’s paid off. On August 21, she ran 37:12 to place seventh in a stacked field at the 11km Falmouth Road Race — during a 180km week. The next month, she won the Bozeman Half Marathon with a personal best of 1:09:47.

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