There will be periods of low confidence during some training runs, and the marathon itself – even when the training has fully prepared you for the event.
Here is a plan that can be practiced in advance, that has helped runners push through to the finish:
1. Don't give up! Confront doubt by keeping the feet moving and saying “I can do it”.
2. If your training has not been as good as it should have been, back off the pace early and take more frequent walk breaks than usual – to save resources for the end.
3. When the going gets tough, don't focus on how much farther – just the next running segment (“Three more minutes).
4. If the amount of the running segment is still tough, keep reducing the amount until you know you can do it (“One more minute” or “Thirty more seconds”)
5. There have been some race situations when I've had to go down to “One more step” to get through a rough patch. This got me through.
6. Don't push through a real medical issue, as you could make the situation much worse.