Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 6 Ways to Race Your Best Marathon

If you're planning on running a half or full marathon this spring,
here are some things to think about so YOU CAN SUCCEED!

These tips for racing your best ALSO apply to training for the event!
Especially making sure you get enough sleep,
drinking and eating DURING your long runs
(those lasting longer than an hour), and paying attention to your PACE.

Good luck!  And if you are planning to run the marathon or half in Cleveland on May 20, REGISTER NOW because after tomorrow, the rates INCREASE!  Good luck!

 Top 6 Ways to Race Your Best for a Marathon

1) The conditions in Houston were PERFECT!  45 to 55 degree temps from start to finish, dry, with NO WIND, seriously! All you can ever hope for!!! Too bad we can't control this! But there is a good chance that this will describe the weather for the Cleveland Marathon. Check out the travel planner HERE!
Here is a suggestion you CAN control! Be RELAXED and CONFIDENT -- Remember that you've completed your training, so you are PREPARED!

2) I slept pretty well for 2 nights before the race.  For the record, it’s always said that if you don’t sleep well the night before a race (anxiousness is common), it’s ok, just rest up in the weeks before.  Anyway, I did get some good sleep Friday and Saturday night, since me, my mom, and my 18 mo-old son all went to bed at the same time (early!), in one hotel room.  Thank goodness he cooperated and was a good little sleeper!

3) I drank the whole cup (3-4 oz per water station) of Gatorade that was passed out at every station through the first 18 or 20 miles (after that you can’t absorb much, so no need to bother). Fluid stations are located at every second mile (as in mile 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.).

4) I took a gel every 5-6 miles, PLUS I ate half of a banana twice during the race -- providing some extra carb, PLUS a cool mental trick: I had the first one before the “big” hill of the course.  Houston is FLAT -- this hill was nothing; it was at mile 14 and once it was over I KNEW I was going to get my time!  What a great race it was!

5) I ran barefoot (nearly)!  My Vibram Five Fingers KSOs were fabulous!  It’s so cool to run so gracefully, softly, and speed up so gradually -- you have to run this way in these shoes OR you will be painfully pounding as you can imagine. When you run properly with these shoes -- magic!

Unfortunately, they are not for everybody, but if you're up for something new, I recommend giving them a try -- VERY GRADUALLY! I'll post more on barefoot running in the future :) Email me in the meantime if you are interested!



6a) I ran with a pace group, so I could make it a somewhat “Zen run”, as in I hardly looked at my watch, and when I did, I just kept doing what I was doing, rather than adjusting according to the “planned pace”.  I decided not to be afraid - either way, if I was going a little faster or slower than I hoped to, I would try to “just run”.  This is more or less how I trained for the past few months, but it felt great to actually do it in a marathon race!

6b) I ran with a pace group (3:30) that was slower than my goal time (sub-3:30), to ensure that I started out comfortably enough.  I stayed with them a long time, finally moving ahead around 19 or so.

6c) At around mile 20 or so, you can throw all caution in the wind -- it’s not like you’re going to really go too wild at this point, but you can speed up with no fear of “dying at the end” because you’re there!  It felt AMAZING to be able to really move at this point in the race!  

All 26 mile splits are going to be summed together to calculate your time. The beginning is always easy, so why not control the pace at the beginning, so it will ALSO feel EASY at the end!

(PR: 3:26 -- wahoo!...my chip time was behind the main clock)

After you finish a marathon, you can and should eat ANYTHING!!!
I happened to have Chipolte!

 And then we (especially Ben) enjoyed a fun visit at the Rainforest Cafe a few hours later!

Here is an awesome idea for quick refueling after any long run!

Plus, if you want to see the cool foods we had on our trip, click here for some FUN FOOD!
WANT TO SHARE? Have you ever had a race when you felt the "runner's high"? Have you ever experienced something similar in any other activity -- this feeling of FLOW? That's a post for another day, but share if you know what I am talking about!

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