April 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM ET
Uta Pippig is a marathon legend, the first woman to win three consecutive Boston marathons. As TODAY's Natalie Morales prepares to attempt her sixth marathon, and first run in Boston, on April 21, Pippig will be sharing her daily training tips with TODAY.com. Here's her fifth one:
Dear Boston Marathon runners and dear Natalie,
It is natural to be getting a little nervous so close to your eagerly-anticipated 26.2 miles. And for our first-time marathoners, it can be challenging to resist the pressure of doubting yourself—asking, “Can I really do this?” In situations like this, try to keep what I like to call a “Cool Focus.” This means channeling your energy, keeping your concentration and simply enjoying these final days of easy running, proper recovery and race-day preparation.
Please remind yourself that your tapering is benefitting you and these last training days of easier running and of building up your “running shape” can be a fun process. With this approach you will have a much greater chance to reach your full potential during your marathon.
There are many ways to stay calm, yet still enjoy the excitement—all without wasting energy by getting too crazy about each detail of the Big Day. Often it will simply help to be at ease with your remaining training, finalize all the logistics for race morning, and go over the key points of your race strategy. The more you familiarize yourself with everything related to Marathon Day, the calmer and mentally stronger you will be—and the easier it is to keep that energy-saving and stress-reducing “Cool Focus.”
Natalie Morales is running the Boston marathon to raise money for The One Fund, which supports victims of the 2013 Boston marathon bombing and their families, and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with disabilities remain active in sports. Learn more and donate on Natalie's Crowdrise page.
Uta Pippig won the Boston Marathon three times, the New York City marathon once, and the Berlin marathon three times. Born in what was then East Germany, she is now an American citizen based in Boulder, Colo., where she coaches runners, has a health foundation called Take the Magic Step and does motivational speaking with her Running To Freedom series.