The mentality of marathoners -

What it takes to run a marathon

Whether you're running a marathon or jogging to stay fit, mental preparation can be just as important as your physical training. Check out how you can develop the mental toughness to run that extra mile.

Have you thought about it? It's on a lot of peoples bucket lists, running a marathon.

Dr. Cindra Kamphoff has done research that could help you in achieving that goal. She says, "people need to train their minds like they train their bodies."

She runs marathons, so it's only natural that her research revolves around her passion for sports psychology. "My research suggests that the number one roadblock that runners have is doubt and negative thinking, doubting their ability to complete the marathon and just negative thinking throughout the marathon," she explains.

Cindra has a few tips for runners looking to overcome those obstacles and get that extra edge.

Number one is focusing on the mile that you're in. So many runners think about what's going to happen next or how they're going to feel at mile 24 when they're at mile 4. She also advises runners to set multiple manageable goals. Things like I will finish this mile or I will pick up my knees. That can really help a runner deal with the discomfort that's a part of running.

Don't get caught up with negative thoughts - instead, think positive! For example, they might be running a really hilly course and say things like "I hate hills, I hate hills!" and if they say it to themselves over and over again then that becomes problematic so just changing that to "I love hills, hills are going to make me a better runner and help me finish this race."

Visualize. Think about your best race and also any possible obstacles that could get in your way. "They're more likely to reach their potential if they thought about it and thought about how they're going to overcome some obstacles," said Dr. Kamphoff.

"And last but not least - compare, despair. One of the barriers that I found in my research is that runners tend to compare themselves to other runners. If they focus on themselves, their own performance and their own improvement that can really help them reach their potential."

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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