Prepare your mental plan to start and finish your race

This blog is an excerpt from our input into The Marathon Marcus blog. Marcus and I have been working together for the last few months in preparation for his sub-3 hour performance in Berlin and we enjoy being able to share some of that journey.


Wherever your race is – in this instance, Berlin – do some research on the start and the finish. See photographs of these moments and begin to build these images up in your mind. Try to imagine what you are seeing, hearing, feeling. What are you smelling, tasting? Visualising it brings an element of reality to your upcoming race.

If you are able to, close your eyes and picture the start, picture your wave and how you want to begin the race. Will you be caught up in the nervous/excited energy that sends people out too fast? Will you stick to your pace? How will you feel crossing that start line knowing all the time you have put in to be there?

If you can’t see it yet, draw it, and describe it in as much detail written down. Now close your eyes and have somebody read your own words back to you.

Do the same for the finish. This could be the last 100m, 400m, mile, 2 miles – whatever you want to do. How do you want to feel in this moment? What will you see and hear? In Berlin you can hear the crowd from a-ways away from the finishing straight – how will you react?

As you approach the finish, soak it all in. All the time and effort put into training for these moments on race day. Race day is there to be enjoyed.

Again, drawing it and describing it then having somebody read it to you helps to strengthen YOUR mental image.

In previous weeks, we’ve prepared for the time in between the start and the finish. It’s important to prepare for these moments too, and this prep can add to your confidence going into the race.


Taking on board Duncan’s advice I’ve previously drawn, pictured and visualise the end of the race. Fortunately I’ve run the Berlin marathon previously so I have the added real life memories to add to this process.

Regular visualisation is a vital part of the process, from seeing the great moments, and to overcoming the challenges. I even do it whilst I’m running.

But I will be getting someone to read my own words back to me. As I think that’s a really powerful way to reinforce my goals and visualisation process.

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