May 29 2018
Six weeks after the 2018 Boston Marathon, we check in with four of this year's top female finishers to see how their lives have changed.
Olympic athlete and co-author of the Believe Training Journal series Roisin McGettigan-Dumas is going to Boston, Mass. to participate in the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo’s official seminar series sponsored by Women’s Running. Her talk, titled Balance, Mindfulness, and How to Inspire Your Running, will address effective training habits and mental toughness skills. During a conversation days before the expo was set to open, Women’s Running asked McGettigan-Dumas what attendees can expect to hear during her panel and how that relates to her experiences and current work.
During her presentation, McGettigan-Dumas plans to engage with Boston Marathon participants to learn what inspired them to run Boston and what they had to overcome to get there. She’ll discuss balancing commitment to training with other aspects of life, such as family and social obligations.
McGettigan-Dumas currently works in the field of sports psychology. Her expertise in the field as an athlete and a sports psychology consultant has equipped her with strategies she can offer competitors to help them get their minds and bodies ready to race. “All my stuff is a combination. I’ve either done this thing and it’s been really effective for me so I want to share it with the world, or I’ve researched it and tested it. You definitely have a combo of the research versus the real life experience.” McGettigan-Dumas “gets it” on multiple levels, something that’s reflected in her approach to discussing training and life as a runner.
McGettigan-Dumas believes a runner’s mind-body connection directly shapes their racing experience. She’s passionate about sharing what she knows about how thoughts influence experiences. “The belief that we have about the situation is more important than the situation itself,” she explained. Even the name of her company, ‘Believe I Am,’ reinforces this value, though McGettigan-Dumas acknowledges that pressure-filled races, like the Boston Marathon, can be difficult to navigate. “It’s a lot of pressure for that day to turn out perfectly. Our thoughts about the situation have physical repercussions.”
As part of her panel discussion, McGettigan-Dumas intends to discuss the importance of enjoying the entire training process, suggesting that it’s just as important for runners to feel successful on race day as it is for them to feel confident in the effort they put into their training during the weeks and months prior. “If you can enjoy the process and focus there, then the outcome takes care of itself,” she said. One strategy she encourages during the training process is intention-setting and the use of mantras to “find a little bit of relaxation somewhere as you embrace the challenge.” She plans to discuss these and some additional mindfulness strategies used by professional runners and everyday runners alike for managing race-day nerves and experiencing greater joy from running while training and on race day.
As a co-author, McGettigan-Dumas has packed the Believe Training Journal series with quotes, mental strategies, training logs and intention-setting guidelines to help runners accomplish goals and learn about themselves during and after every run. McGettigan-Dumas explains that implementing practices like these can help runners reflect back on their goals, motivation and preparedness to feel confident and assured before race day—especially when they’re feeling the kind of nervousness before a big training run or race that she calls “run love amnesia.” The journals also include pre- and mid-race strategies that participants can try before big races like the Boston Marathon, including devising a race-day plan, planning and visualizing a race-day strategy (from food to transportation, clothing and mid-race mantras), to help runners feel grounded and ready to race. Writing down specific, logistical details is one way runners can keep track of everything and calm a racing mind; that way, the body is ready to race and the runner is left standing on the starting line with “full bars of mental, emotional and physical energy.”
Roisin McGettigan-Dumas will be speaking at the 4–4:45 p.m. Women’s Running Seminar Series panel on Saturday, April 14 to discuss balance, mindfulness and inspiration for runners of all levels. To find additional details about her panel and the official Seminar Series schedule and panel descriptions, visit this page.