Marathon Race Advice

16 May

Yesterday was my LAST scheduled long run in training for the Ottawa Marathon (13 days away – eek!). I felt pretty good, and kicked it up a notch with my speed, and I listened to my body instead of what my training program said to do. Rain and wind aside, it went quite well.

That being said, I am closing in on my tapering, and ultimately my race. I can’t believe I’ll be toeing the start line in less than two weeks . I have completed my training. I’m working on my nutrition. I’m trying to get plenty of sleep. So now it’s the mental game.

I’m a race-day mental game freak, so I’m doing my best to keep myself calm. Instead, I’m remaining pumped about the fact that I’ll be completing a marathon. I’m actually kind of proud of how cool I’ve been about it thus far.

I’ve done some reading on what to do when you hit the wall. I like these pieces of advice:

-Sing a song in your head
-2+2 = do simple math in your head to take your mind off things
-Pretend you have a cup and you dip deep into your stomach to pull out the last 10km of your race.

I’ve also received some great advice from marathoners about what to do when running the actual marathon.

-Emily told me she picked people to run with, as she knew they were working on her same goal times.
-Luc told me to listen to three songs on my iPod and get into the groove and correct my pace, as it’s easy to get caught up in the beginning.
-Kris told me to go slow my first 10-km and then pick up the pace.

 I love the advice I’ve received, and I’m craving for more. In essence, I’m looking for all the race-day advice you’ve got!

Here’s my question to you marathoners (and all runners in this case!): What’s your advice for completing a tough race?

4 Responses to “Marathon Race Advice”

  1. Amy May 16, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    I bribe myself with Starbucks.

    Pathetic? Maybe.

    Efficient? Definitely!

  2. Rob Thomas May 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    You aren’t going to have a tough race. It sounds as though you are totally prepped. Hold back at the start, try to kick at the end and think of all of your training as one long journey (that last 10k is peanuts in comparison). It’s the taper that will probably drive you nuts.

  3. Jill May 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    When I hit the 36 km-mark, mentally I knew I was foreign territory. Here’s what I did to move beyond that point:

    1. I focused on how proud I’d feel crossing the finish line.
    2. I counted from 1 to 10 (repeatedly) during particularly painful moments.
    3. I tried to focus on my surroundings (the water, the sky, the trees, the people) so as to get me out of my own head and to enjoy the experience.
    4. I kept saying to myself, “The hay is in the barn,” which was my reminder that I’d done all the prep work and was ready to finish that bad boy.

    I took the first 20 km at a nice, slow but steady pace. I peed once at around the 12-km mark (in the woods) and didn’t need to again (which shocked me). Everything was good and steady and peaceful right up until km 36 and then I needed to dig deep, as you say. That’s when the mental gymnastics were vital for me.

    You can do this! I have been following your training via your blog and you seem to be so calm, which is the best medicine, I think. You’ve done your prep, now it’s time to enjoy!


    • Cat's Cove Writing Services May 24, 2011 at 11:10 am #

      I love, love, love your insight! I’ll definitely utilize these notes when grinding it out Sunday! My favourite is, “the hay is in the barn”.

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