Marathon Champ Des Linden’s 7 Mental Toughness Tips

April 16, 2018, was one of those spring days in Boston that felt more like the middle of winter. Temperatures were in the 30s, winds were clocking 25 miles per hour, and freezing rain was falling. It was the type of day many Bostonians would likely have chosen to just stay indoors.

Des Linden and thousands of other runners chose to run a marathon.

For Linden, the women’s 2018 winner, the conditions were simply a test of her well-honed mental toughness, she says. She wasn’t expecting to win the race either that morning or leading up to it, considering her 2017 hypothyroidism diagnosis that sent her training into a tailspin and left her questioning if she would ever run competitively again.

It was around mile marker 20 Linden realized she not only had a chance of winning, but that her chances were good. She came off “Heartbreak Hill” (the short-but-steep, half-mile incline in the last quarter of the course) in first place and widened her lead over the rest of the race, finishing in 2 hours 39 minutes and 54 seconds — her best marathon time, in conditions that left many other elite athletes with the dreaded “DNF” (did not finish) result. The runner drop out rate was 50 percent higher than the prior year, The New York Times reported.

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