3 days and counting and the excitement continues to build. It is going to be a great race. If you are feeling like you could have done more, dont worry as this is normal. Even if you did all you could do in training, you will still show up to the start line feeling like you could have done more. Trust your training, believe you are ready to go and everything will fall into line.
The marathon is two races, the first race is mile 1-20 and the second race is the last 6 miles. You can never truly predict what will happen to you on those last miles but there are a number of things you can do to put yourself in the best position to tackle those last 6 miles.
Your body can only hold 2000 calories of glycogen(energy) in it s body at one time. Burning 100 calories every mile x20 miles equals 2000 calories. This is why they say you usually hit the wall at mile 20 because you have exhausted your glycogen. What happens in the last 6 miles is really unpredictable but you can do as much as you can to head into the 20 mile mark. This is why taking your gels and gu’s along with water and electrolytes consistently through the race is vital.
On another note have you ever had a full tank of gas in your car and punched the accelerator? The gas seriously goes down quickly. But if you cruise at a decent speed consistently your gas will last longer because your engine is running at a more efficient approach. The same holds true for your body, get out of the gates super fast at the beginning of your race and you will bonk out. Approach your race by allowing your body to naturally warm up and get into a consistent cruising pace and you will have a successful race. Ever seen runners walking their way into the finish line? This is not how you want to experience a marathon. Be patient out there.
The start line
Try and line up at your appropriate pace in the proper corrals. Trying to line up close to the start can only put you in the position to run faster than you should. Also try to avoid zig zagging between runners at the start, this will take a lot of energy out of you and this is the last thing you need. Too much of this can make you pay for it in the later miles. Be patient, you have a long way to go and you will have your chance to make your moves.
Gels and Gu’s?
Please be consistent, you don’t want to create fluctuations in energy. As blood sugar rises when you take a gel you want to avoid being inconsistent with your gel consumption as your blood sugar will dip which will create a feeling of lethargy and fatigue. By staying consistent with gel intake you will keep the blood sugar level even which will help you experience a great feeling throughout the race. If you take a gel, time it perfectly either by time (every 45 minutes) or by miles (every 4 miles).
Are you running with a pace group?
Running with a pace group is always great in a race because you can tuck yourself in the middle of a large pack chasing a particular goal you are interested in and you can best of all draft a lot of people. Drafting is usually illegal in major sporting events like cycling because it allows you to reduce the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead runner’s slipstream. Drafting can significantly reduce your average energy expenditure required to maintain your intended pace. It works and can keep you ready when it’s time to make your move to go after your goal.
So When do you make your move?
If you are running the marathon and at mile 10 you feel good and decide to pick up the pace you are making the wrong decision. Mile 10 is much too early to make your move. You will surely have a tough effort all the way to the end. If it is mile 13 and you decide to pick it up chances are you are making the move at the wrong time, still a lot of running to do. I would suggest keeping a consistent pace to mile 17 and then evaluating where you are and feel and start making a gradual pick up in pace. I think based on how you feel, you can either start making your move at mile 20 or 21. Don’t make a sudden burst but gradually pick it up and then run in control and start getting mental and start putting it all on the line.
How do you put it on the line?
Simple, push yourself. There will come a point in the marathon when you are faced with a choice, a fork in the road if you will. The choices are simple, choose one road where you can ease up and pull back the pace because it feels safe and you are tired. You will cruise in to the end but you will finish with that elusive question, WHAT IF? What if you had not pulled back? Then there is the other choice. Choose to push yourself and go into unknown territory. It’s a scary place because you don’t know what can happen. You potentially can put yourself in a place of a lot of pain but I invite you to go there. Your body is very smart and will figure out a way to keep the effort and pace. You then see you can do it and you find yourself succeeding. The feeling is exhilarating crossing the finish line knowing you gave everything you had. From that point on your running will never be the same as that choice re-invents not only your running but it re-invents your life. Because remember, we take the lessons in running and apply the same courage, perseverance and vigor to our everyday lives. Choose wisely on Sunday.
Stay positive with your thoughts, today is a great day to get in a good carb dinner so have a great dinner and carb up!
See you tomorrow,