International water activist Mina Guli recently did a whopping 200 marathons in one year around the globe to raise awareness of the global water crisis we’re facing. 200 marathons? Now that’s a woman with intel, we say. Naturally, we turned to her right before the formidable Comrades Marathon to get her tips on how to get over the finish line, blisters and chaffing be damned.
“I am not a runner, by any stretch of the imagination,” says Guli. “In fact, when I was younger, I avoided doing any form of exercise. But I realised that to raise awareness for the dire global water crisis, I would have to do something very hard to make a real impact. I have found that these six tips are the only reason I am able to make it through my runs when things get really rotten, and it would be so much easier to give up!”
Stay in the moment
Wanna give up because there are still 20 whole kilometres of road left? Take it one kilometre at a time, says Guli. “It is really important to remember this is not a 90km race, it is 1km one step at a time,” she says. “Focus on the kilometre that you are doing and the step that you are taking, really focus on just being there in that moment!”
Focus on your purpose
Throughout the race, remind yourself why you signed up for this race. Is it to raise awareness around an issue? Did you want to prove to yourself that you can do difficult things? Focus on this. “It’s very important to think in advance why you are doing this race, what your purpose is! It often helps to write this purpose on your hand or your wrist so that you can easily see it and remind yourself on the route why you are there!”
Think good things
You’re tired and everything hurts and you just want to give up. This will happen. To help, channel positive thoughts. “There will always be something that hurts – be real it’s 90km – but equally, there is always something that feels good. Whether it’s your fingers, your hands or even the tip of your nose, focus on that and how good it feels! Remember how powerful your mind is and focus your attention away from the hurt to the parts that feel good!”
“Phrase thoughts differently in your mind. Instead of thinking, I have to do this race, rather think how awesome it is to be able to take part in this event,” says Guli. “Say hello and thank you to all of the volunteers along the route who make a race like Comrades Marathon possible. When you give positive energy out, it’s incredible the energy that you get back and the power that this gives to your spirit, your body, your mind and your soul.”
Get the basics right
Remember your snacks, hydrate regularly and fuel your body properly with loads of carbs before the race. “You need to ensure that you take on the right fuel to help your body get through an incredible feat like the Comrades Marathon,” says Guli.
Pick a mantra
“When things get really tough for me, I remind myself that we CAN do hard things, we are capable of so much for than we realise,” says Guli. “I like to bring in all of the points above into my mantra to keep my head in the right space. [Things like] I am able to do hard things, I stay in the moment, I focus on my purpose, I think about only good things, I am grateful and I fuel my body to the best of my ability throughout the run.”