Strategery on the Marathon

So, here we go! The marathon is upon us: This Weekend!

I’ve been strategizing (a lot) over the past few weeks about how exactly to run this race. I decided early on that it’s not about time, and it still isn’t. I really didn’t want to set myself up where I’m stressed about time and unable to really listen to my body and, also, enjoy the race. I have never done it before, finishing is the goal and quite an accomplishment.

But, there’s a problem with that. A big part of marathoning is pacing. And I know that I fall prey to going out too fast. And, ergo, a big part of pacing is having a projected finish time. *Sigh* Ok. But, HOW do you estimate how long it takes to run 26.2 if you’ve never done it? (no really, if you know, please tell me) The best I could find was this, the McMillan Running Calculator. It makes calculations based on your other race times at various distances. I’m aiming to run the race at a 10:15-:30 pace. It says my 2:06 half (from June) would equate to a 4:25 marathon. (I dunno about that… but anyway) Realizing that with throngs of people this could be a challenge in the beginning, I’m actually looking at that number more as a ceiling to prevent me from going out too hard. If we go out slower, I won’t sweat it.

Another piece of advice I found online is to do the first half of the race by time, and the second half by feel. I like this. I think using the first 10-13 miles to set my pace and keep me above that 10:15 threshold will help me. Hopefully, I hit mile 10 and feel great and step it up.

My last bit of strategy is to listen to music for the last 6.2 miles only. I’m intending to run the race with Brittany and Stacey, and the excitement of 30,000 others and who knows how many spectators. But, you know, anyone will tell you that the last 6 miles a-sucks and I feel as if I need something exciting to look forward to. Enter: Killer Playlist. I’m working on it, it’s gonna be great! I’m still looking for a few songs, so if you have an amazing rec, I’d love to hear it! Before you say Kelly Clarkson, I’m looking for a notch above that. 🙂 This is for A-game songs only.

And now… fuel. This, as you know, is my big thing! It’s night and day when I do a great job fueling, it almost feels like cheating. I’ve been using the plan I outlined in this post more or less (just … well, more or less depending on the length of the run). It gets different in that on longer training runs, I would stop and refill my fluids at the car, and I don’t see refilling being an option on the race course. I will probably take water & Gatorade from the stands, however, I will also take my Fuel Belt. I mean, how else will I hold all the gu I need and my phone?

I’m going to take a salt tablet at the top of each hour, and try to keep up with the Gu every 40 minutes. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around how to make sure I’m getting enough liquids, and I don’t like not being able to know how many ounces I’ll be drinking… but I think if I just take water or gatorade at each stop, and have it in my belt I’ll be ok. That feels weirdly loosey goosey for having  been so stringent over the past 2 months about this. I just don’t know how to plan for it… Can any marathon veterans help me with this? How do you keep track of your fluids?

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3 thoughts on “Strategery on the Marathon

  1. Congrats are in order for the hundreds of training miles behind you! You finished the hard part! The actual race seems like a huge deal but if you approach it as just another mileage goal then it shouldn’t be much different than your long runs. This is what usually works for me, but everyone’s requirements are different…

    Fuel strategy: My biggest rule is never let anything get depleted during the run. I walk through every water stop and drink something – if I actually FEEL thirsty then I drink more. I alternate between plain water and Gatorade at each stop – I bring my own Gatorade mix packets and mix it with their water in my bottle. I always eat something solid with protein (Snickers bar!) at least once during the race.

    Pacing strategy: My worst fear is hitting a wall (it sucks) so I start off painfully slow and pick up the pace as I go, but I never extend myself before mile 20. If something feels off or I begin to struggle then I immediately slow down and focus on finding a groove. If it all feels good then I make myself hold back and cruise comfortably until mile 20 – if everything still feels peachy then I go for it – it’s only happened twice that I felt good enough to sprint the last six miles. Mile 20 is also the point at which my running partner and I agree to separate if one of us is holding the other back.

    Mental strategy: My ONLY goal is to feel good when I cross the finish line. I try not to think about time and I force myself to avoid calculating my finish time during the race. I don’t stress about stopping along the way to take a photo or to hug my husband and kids! Running 26 miles is plenty of accomplishment in itself.

    Stop by if you have any questions. Best of luck!!

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