Going for your first? If you’re about to embark on your first marathon, these 7 critical suggestions for just before and during race day will make a big difference in how you feel and how you finish.
Going for your fastest? If you want to run a faster time, and achieve a personal record, then these ideas will definitely tip the opportunity to your favor.
1. Set the right pace goal. Your fitness level is your fitness level. The training is done, and you are where you are. You need to be honest with yourself as to what you are truly capable of achieving. Have three race pace goals: Plan A, B, and C. Long distances often to not go exactly as planned so give yourself backup plans so you can hang in there, stay focused, and do the best you can.
2. Respect Mother Nature. If you trained in cold weather, and you are going to a warmer climate for the race, you need to adjust your pace accordingly. If training in warm/hot weather and racing in cold temps, the same adjustment applies. The weather and heat (or cold) have a significant impact on performance, especially if you are not training regularly in the same climate as your race location. Be humble and respect Mother Nature.
3. Ease into your pace. Start slow. Let the race come to you. Don’t make the mistake of letting the adrenaline get to your head. If you start fast, it will make the race a lot more difficult, and you will not achieve the best finish time possible.
4. Stay ahead with hydration and fueling. Stick to your normal, long-run fueling even if you feel amazing early in the race. Once you get dehydrated, or your glycogen stores are depleted, it’s nearly impossible to recover and finish strong. By staying ahead with your water, electrolytes, and fast-absorbing carbs, you give yourself a stronger chance of enduring well when things get tough late in the race.
5. Don’t try anything new. Vendors from the running community will likely be selling all sorts of cool, new, running-related products at booths, related expos and the like. Go shopping as much as you like, but don’t try that new product before or during your race. Stay away from samples, even in your swag bags. You don’t want to eat or drink something that causes you an upset stomach and derails your entire training and end result.
6. Embrace the moment. Wherever you are running in the world, notice the landscape around you. It could be the only time you see it, not to mention from this perspective. Take it all in. It is human nature for your mind to drift into negativity when you physically challenge yourself. Reset your mental attitude by focusing on the positives around you. Have an attitude of gratitude.
7. Support your neighbor. Get out of your head by thinking of and supporting those around you. There are many runners participating in the race, so stop thinking the world revolves around you. Thank a volunteer, wish a nervous participant good luck at the start line, or high five a fan on the course.
I wish you success in your race. If you don’t achieve your goal, go back to the drawing board. Did you train smart? My definition of training smart is following a custom training plan designed, monitored and adjusted by a professional (a human, not an algorithm). If you are ready to take your running to the next level, contact me for a free phone consultation at teamallamerican.com!
And to all of our Team All-American athletes, I am always rooting for you!
Yours in training,