Have you ever run a marathon and hit the wall? Or perhaps gone on a long training run and ended up stumbling through the final few miles? Maybe you’ve found yourself complaining about the huge crowds at a race, or wishing you had worn different running shoes, or becoming upset at the smelly runner in front of you who really should have taken a bath sometime in the past week.
It’s in these unhappy moments when the Marathon Mind Monkeys show up, and there is a very good chance that something will happen that causes you to meet them if you run a long distance event.
“Mind monkeys” is, of course, simply a metaphorical phrase. When you begin to experience negativity creeping into your thinking, you might jokingly say that the mind monkeys have taken over. Your thoughts are your own responsibility, but during a marathon, it’s not uncommon to begin to feel as if you are unable to control your own emotions and thoughts. The mind monkeys infect you with sadness, anger, despair, even depression.
This lack of ability to control the mind is often part of the larger physiological phenomenon known as “hitting the wall”. When glycogen stores reach a dangerous level of depletion, various effects occur on a runner, one of which may be a harsh visit from the mind monkeys. You may become discouraged and feel hopeless. You might become angry at your body’s inability to perform at normal levels. Some runners lash out at volunteers or spectators. Some drop out of the race, too discouraged to go on.
There are other times when emotions and thoughts turn negative during a marathon. Runners expecting aid stations might become upset when water runs […]