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.
Now, it’s time to hear more from participant #1, Phelim Gallagher, who was born and raised in Galway and has a love for sea swimming. Throughout the journey, he’s been able to achieve his goal of understanding his strengths but also working on his weaknesses. He wants to complete this journey as he saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with a team of world class coaches, he wanted to test his mental strength and he also wanted to honour his late father who passed away in 2018.
Phelim, great to chat. Firstly, how are you feeling?
Feeling great, thanks! It’s very much uncharted territory with every single new run that we’re doing so you’re breaking barriers every time you go out there which is very special in itself! It takes a lot of discipline to ‘live the life of an athlete’ as Rob says, and to ensure that your preparation is all there as the risk of injury is always looming if you aren’t doing things properly or at all. But it's a challenge that I've embraced.
What’s been the biggest challenge throughout?
It all comes back to consistency in my eyes. You’re building up your mileage during the weeks and then tackling PB distances every weekend so it’s important to be consistent. And I did have an ankle injury for six weeks so that was difficult to deal with. You know that everyone else is progressing and you’re nursing an injury so the fear was there that I would be way off the pace by the time I was back on the proper plan. I literally had to jump into the ocean to take my mind completely off things and it helped me deal with the injury and stay in a more positive mindset.
Any tips for people that might think about doing a challenge like this?
Everyone is different and needs something that interests them outside of just the hard training. I’d recommend finding what that is and making sure you keep doing it. For me, it’s the ocean but it could be yoga for someone else. No matter what it is, it has to be something that motivates you and helps to keep you ticking over. Try and find that formula that works for you and you’ll have better training sessions as a result.
What are your thoughts ahead of the next few weeks?
There’s very little messing around at this stage! It’s the business end of the journey and you’ll get punished if you are drinking too much at the weekend or not getting your recovery sessions in. I go back to the discipline aspect that is so important and knowing that every session no matter what it is, counts towards the overall process.
If you could go back to day 1, what would you tell yourself?
I’d probably tell myself not to overthink things too much. Not to get too bogged down by the size of the plan and just take every session as it comes. It’s important to know that every activity completed as part of the plan is in the bank and if you can use that mindset when you’re preparing for those longer, more difficult runs, it definitely gives you a bit of a mental edge. I’d also just remind myself that it is 100% normal to have off days and not feel fully on song all the time. We’re human and that’s important to remember.
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.