From finding time for long runs; pushing through tough sessions; and staying consistent in the process, preparing to take on the big 26.2 is a monumental challenge.

However, marathon preparation is not just about the physical preparation: being mentally ready is also key.

Superfan Dan Kristof will take on his 7th marathon this year.

To stay on top of your mental game, we spoke to run club leader at Tri Hard Harriers and adidas Manchester Marathon superfan, Dan Kristof, who said the following about mentality before a marathon:

“Your mindset plays a crucial role in determining your ability to succeed (and enjoy) the 26.2 mile journey. From resilience and positive self-talk, to visualisation and mindfulness, the mental aspect of running a marathon can greatly influence your performance and overall experience”.

Dan shared his top 7 tips on staying mentally strong in event week:


“Although it’s natural that nerves  will be building in event week, look for calming activities which will help you to switch off and fully rest.  

I usually have plenty of salt baths in the week leading up to marathon day, maybe even scheduling a sports massage in the week to ease the leg muscles. 

Yoga and walking are also great ways to stay calm, and can also lead to better sleep.”


“Whether it’s talking to fellow runners from your running club, seeking advice from a coach, or simply sharing how you’re feeling with loved ones, leaning into a support network can help alleviate stress and boost your morale.  

I like to make use of my in-person and online support circles – they love to hear event day updates and I’m always grateful for their words of encouragement!”


“Spend time outdoors in nature during race week to help recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your mind.  

This could be a daily walk, mindfulness in a park, or maybe even a spot of break-dancing in your garden whilst listening to Hacienda classics (just me?) 

Another tip here is that if the weather is wet – embrace it! It could all be good preparation for the conditions on the day…”


“Seeing your kit gives you a sense of control and reinforces that you are ready to take on the challenge. 

So, ahead of the big day, lay out all of the items you are going to need, including your running shoes, kit, bib number, nutrition, hydration pack (or belt), cap (a staple of mine), sunglasses (because, well… we may get lucky?) and any other essentials. 

This task also gives you time to make any changes to your kit and gives you the knowledge that you have EVERYTHING you need.”

Dan clocked a speedy time of 03:57:32 at last year’s event.


“Much like your training, it is important to continue to stay flexible with your race day goals and expectations. Whilst it is important to have your ‘masterplan’ of time and pace, be prepared to adjust your strategy based on how you feel in the lead up and during the race.

Although getting a personal best (PB) is fantastic and a great achievement, don’t let that overshadow the fact that taking on a marathon is incredible in itself. 

You should also be flexible with your logistical plans; an example of this is marathon day public transport will be much busier than usual. Look at alternatives or set off that little bit earlier, in order to miss the rush!”


“In this last week, look back at your training. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come – those endless miles no matter the weather or time of day – as well as the highs and lows (which you can hopefully laugh at now).

With the evidence of your training in front of you, now it’s time to trust the process, relax and reap the rewards of your hard work. You’ve got this.”


“My final tip is to close your eyes and imagine a positive experience at each stage of the event.

This could be setting off at a moderate pace, enjoying the crowds, looking strong and relaxed as you run, feeling the energy from the crowds, or heading towards the finish line achieving your goal.

Self-belief is an incredible thing – so, when there are no more miles to log, use the power of your mind!”


Thank you Dan for sharing these awesome tips and see you at the finish line!