Marathon Training: 6 Tips to Support Your Mental Health


Editor’s Note: Though the runners from previous marathon teams have type 1 diabetes, this story is applicable to people with type 2 diabetes who are also training for the NYC TCS Marathon. 

Stephanie is a member of the Beyond Type Run 2022 team—a team of nearly 50 people living with type 1 diabetes who ran the 2022 NYC Marathon on November 6. They’re on a mission to raise awareness and funds for type 1 diabetes, with fundraising open through the end of 2022. Congratulate Stephanie by making a gift on her fundraising page!

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes eight years ago, I’m now a 21-year-old college senior at the University of Florida. I am a full-time student, have an internship at the state attorney’s office, am the president of the UF Diabetes Institute Student Ambassadors, am studying for and taking the LSAT while applying to law school and am trying to enjoy my last year in college with all my friends—all while training for the NYC Marathon where I’ll be running with the Beyond Type Run team!

I know my situation is not unique. We’re all balancing so much! But that balancing act is mentally and emotionally stressful.

To make sure I can train for the marathon amidst a lot of other activities, I’ve learned some key ways to help with the balancing act. Hopefully, these help you too!

Reach out to friends and family for support

Something about me: I am stubborn! I usually like to handle stressful things on my own. But with everything on my plate, I’ve needed all the support I can get.

Look for people who can possibly relate with you, whether it is about running or work or other responsibilities. As part of the Beyond Type Run team, I’ve been blessed with a group that I have been able to reach out to with any questions or concerns I may have as a first-time marathoner.

My family and friends have also been so helpful. My parents came up to visit me on the weekend of my 20-mile run and my mom drove around while I ran to give me water and Gatorade when I needed it.

Take care of your mental health

Preparing for, taking the LSAT and applying to law school have been some of the most mentally challenging things I have had to tackle. I took the LSAT the day before my 22-mile run. I was mentally exhausted after my LSAT, and I couldn’t even bear thinking about running for 22 miles (my longest run before the marathon).

So I took the rest of that day off. I had homework and studying I could have done, but I put myself and my mental health first because I needed it. I knew that if I kept pushing myself that I would not be able to get myself to run 22 miles the next morning, and taking care of our mental health is key. 

Focus on one thing at a time

As much as I wish I could do one million things at once, I can’t. There are times that my heart feels so overwhelmed because I start thinking of all my upcoming deadlines.

I have found it very helpful to schedule my shorter runs during the week in the afternoon so that I have a good break in between going to class during the day and studying at the library at night.

After my long runs on Saturday I am exhausted, so I make sure to either have a clear schedule for the rest of Saturday or save some lighter assignments to be completed after my run.

Continue doing the things that make you happy

Marathon training is tiring and can bring a lot more stress into your life. One thing I have learned is that I can’t let those stressors take away what makes me happy.

Whether this means going out for a bite with friends, cooking a nice meal at home, just snuggling up and watching a movie, or even travelling on the weekends, it is important to keep living your life as you usually do.

Find that balance

From reaching out to family and friends to taking care of your mental health to continuing to do the things that make you happy, overcoming the challenges that come with training for a marathon is tough. And type 1 diabetics have to do all this while managing our blood sugars.

Find that balance between life, work, diabetes, and training—it takes a lot of patience, but training for this marathon has been so rewarding. Every time I finish a long run, I tell myself, “YOU did that!” I cannot wait to cross that finish line in New York City along with my team of type 1 diabetics!

Remember your why

Finally, use your dreams as motivation. In October 2021, I had an assignment in one of my classes to create a resume for my future self in 5 years.

A few days ago, I was updating my own resume and l came across that assignment. Under volunteer experiences it said that in 2025, I had run the NYC Marathon with a diabetes team. And look at me now!