Concentration is one of the most underrated attributes of the endurance athlete. The ability to stay psychologically present in what you are doing and not allowing yourself to mentally "drift off" to often is key to getting the best out of yourself on the day. Which is - unless you're just there to finish - what you've been training for.
|Race concentration and focus|
This shouldn't be interpreted as putting on a mean looking face the entire race and pushing every ounce of life out of your body, as would a sprinter. That would be no fun as well as exhausting. Some lapses to acknowledge a family member in the crowd or to share a joke with a fellow competitor can provide great mental relief during a long event. But distracting yourself from the task at hand for too long or too often, while it may get you across the finish line, may be undermining the performance you're capable of.
A strong focus can help accomplish mental tasks such as pushing negative thoughts out of your head, correcting your technique or holding the right pace free from the distractions of your competitors. All these things will help you get to that finish line faster.