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What To Do When You Are Suffering On the Run

What To Do When You Are Suffering On the Run


The marathon leg of an Ironman triathlon is often hailed as the ultimate test of endurance, both physically and mentally. As you take on the grueling 26.2-mile run after completing the swim and bike legs, you may encounter moments of intense suffering and some serious doubt. In these challenging times, having effective coping strategies can make all the difference between pushing through the pain and hitting the brick wall. In this blog, we'll explore four key tactics that you can employ when facing tough times on the run course. From using the power of positive affirmations to seeking support from fellow competitors, these strategies are designed to help you overcome obstacles and stay strong until you cross the finish line. Let's dive in.


1. Repeat a positive affirmation over and over in your head: When you're in the depths of physical and mental fatigue during the marathon leg of an Ironman, your mindset can make all the difference. Positive affirmations like "I have pushed through pain before," "I can do this," or "Every step brings me closer to my goal" can help override negative thoughts and keep you focused on pushing forward. By repeating these affirmations, you reinforce belief in yourself and your ability to overcome the challenges ahead. I’ve created some really great positive race affirmations and you can get them by clicking right here:


2. Run with another runner and help each other along: Endurance events like Ironman triathlons can be as much about camaraderie as they are about personal achievement. If you find yourself struggling, consider linking up with another athlete who's similar in ability to you and going through a similar experience. Running alongside someone else can provide motivation, distraction, and mutual support. You can encourage each other, share stories, and even divide the mental load by focusing on helping your partner through tough patches.

3.Stop at each water station to replenish and recover: Hydration and nutrition are crucial during a marathon, especially in the context of an Ironman where you've already completed a swim and bike leg. Make it a habit to stop at each water station to replenish fluids and electrolytes. Use this time not just for hydration but also for a brief mental and physical reset. Take a moment to assess how you're feeling, adjust your pace if needed, and mentally prepare for the next segment of the race.


4.Think about good running form - shoulders away from ears, slight forward lean, mid-foot strike: When fatigue sets in, it's easy for your running form to go to crap, leading to inefficiency and increased risk of injury. By focusing on maintaining good form, you can conserve energy and reduce the strain on your body. Visualize yourself running tall with relaxed shoulders, leaning slightly forward from the ankles, and landing with a mid-foot strike. Paying attention to your form not only improves biomechanical efficiency but also serves as a distraction from discomfort and keeps your mind engaged in the task at hand.


When the going gets tough during the marathon leg of an Ironman triathlon, it's essential to have strategies in place to overcome the physical and mental challenges. By repeating positive affirmations, giving support to fellow athletes, staying hydrated, and maintaining good running form, you can navigate through the toughest moments with resilience and determination. Remember, the journey to the finish line is as much about mental fortitude as it is about physical capability. Stay focused, stay positive, and keep pushing forward towards your goal. You got this!


Have you thought about doing a Run Gait Analysis to run more efficiently and shave some time off your next race? Yes we can do it remotely! All you have to do is have someone shoot you running at the track a few times. Click this link to sign up and I will get with you about all of the details!


Are you tired of the same old race times with no improvement? Do you want to set a great big goal but need some help along the way? I get it! Click this purple button and fill out the short form for a free 15 minute chat with Mary and we can talk about your goals!


 Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Triathlon Coach

TriDot Coach

ACSM Trainer






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