Your mental attitude is crucial for marathon running, if you can cope with the stress of HITTING THE WALL, this is the fatigue that you feel during the second half of the race, you are more likely to endure the race and run to your full potential.

You may be very fit, but if you are not psychologically prepared you may find the race overwhelming, say a researcher. The key to success seems to be linked to your expectations of performance.

Research was carried ahead of the London Marathon (tomorrow, Sunday), it is an event with more than 33,000 runners.

Dr. Andrew Lane, Sports Psychology Doctor, University of Wolverhampton, UK, carried out this new study. He questioned marathon runners who had raced in last year?s event in London.

Among his interviewees were 30 runners who ran for a charity called Cardiac Risk in the Young. He questioned them before and after the race.

He concluded that there were two groups of runner types.

16 of those thirty had a positive attitude before the race. Their anxiety levels were healthy, they were excited but mentally calm at the same time ? they were highly motivated during the race. When fatigue hit them in the second half of the race they did not find the experience unbearable.

The other group (14 people) felt anger and depression (they said) during the second half of the race. They felt dissatisfied and frustrated after the event. Everyone in this group did not have as positive an attitude before the race as the first group. They were very anxious and experienced negative emotions (before the race).

Dr Lane said \"We can\'t say for sure why this happened, but we can speculate that people who coped better were more confident in their ability and able to cope better during the most challenging parts of the race. Anxiety is motivational when coupled with feelings of excitement and calmness but harmful when coupled with an emotional profile characterised by feeling depressed, tense, tired and confused.\"

However, none of the people in the second group (the more negative ones) said that they would never run in a marathon again.

According to Dr. Lane, it helps if you are realistic about your performance. \"Know about your comfortable running speed and stick to it. The 16 who were positive about their race had gone at a steady rate. Those who bombed through at the beginning and didn\'t drink properly and who drank \'power\' drinks when they weren\'t used to it, had negative responses after the race.\"

He also offered some hope to the runners. He said it is not too late to improve your mental fitness for the big day (London Marathon). \"They (the runners) can imagine how bad it is going to be in the worst parts on the day and look at strategies for dealing with it. We know music can be functional and some runners may benefit from fixing a song in their head. Talking to yourself during the race in a positive way is also useful and believing that you can do it.\"

Some runners say it helps to prepare mentally for when you think you will ?hit the wall?. They say that you can prepare yourself mentally for that (those) moment(s).