As the Marathon Mind journey continues to build towards race day on 13th November in Mullingar, we caught up with the 4 amazing participants who have been challenged mentally, physically and emotionally over the past 8 months. If you’re new to the Marathon Mind journey, you can learn more about it, and the incredible participants, here.
Let’s hear more from participant #2, Marion Russell, who is a primary school teacher hailing from Glengarriff in West Cork. Oozing positive energy, she started this journey with some very clear aims. She wanted to complete a marathon from start-finish in one day, learn more about and utilise mindfulness techniques on the daily, and do it for her late husband, Barry, who sadly passed away in 2020. This journey has really allowed Marion to reconnect with herself, as an individual a bit more, and we’re so inspired by her attitude and mental resilience to keep pushing herself to the limit!
Hey Marion, how are you feeling at this point?
I think to be this far along the journey, it’s definitely a mixture of elation, excitement and nervousness to be honest. We’ve achieved so much but we’ve still got more to go! What has really helped me along the way has been taking it week by week and not getting too far ahead of myself. The little wins along the way are definitely a psychological boost! In between our long runs, we’re doing 8 - 14km runs which is crazy when you say it out loud in terms of the progression we've made.
Have you had to deal with any setbacks along the way?
Back in May, I tore my hamstring and that was really tough to take from a mental point of view. But at the same time, it’s all part of the journey and we knew it was going to be tough. I relied heavily on mindfulness sessions which I was doing 2-3 times a day just to ensure I was mentally in the right frame of mind to deal with this. Essentially, I was sidelined for 3 weeks and was very nervous about the first run back. I must say that I owe a lot to Derry McVeigh (Athlete Liaison Officer) for basically helping me to visualise each and every step of that first run back. It really put my mind at ease and was just what I needed.
Are there any particular techniques that have helped you out?
I’m a big self-talker! I have found myself out in the woods, talking to my glutes and telling myself you can do it and to keep going!! Or if I get a stitch, I try to breathe towards that area to try and ease some of the pain or tension that is there. It’s my way of persevering when things get a bit tougher. I’ve also definitely benefited from the strength and conditioning program and might try to get more involved in that area after the marathon as well.
Tips that you’ve picked up along the way?
Getting that balance right between listening to your body when it needs to rest and also knowing when you need to just keep going has been tricky but you learn more about yourself with every run. Also, not being too hard on yourself if you don’t tick every single box along the way. Being okay with that is a mental adjustment but an important one to make in order to keep your spirits high.
Any final thoughts?
If I’m 100% honest, I never struggle to go out for a run, I’m always looking forward to it. I have just learnt so much and have been lucky enough to interact and chat with so many amazing people (virtually). I’ve really bought into the process, the mindfulness sessions and the mental training of this journey which has kept me going throughout!
The Marathon Mind journey reaches its conclusion on Saturday, November 13th as all participants come together in Mullingar to run the marathon which is very exciting!! If you’d like to learn more or if you’re interested in joining them, you can find out more here.