The Marathon is just 4 weeks away! You’ve worked hard. You are mentally and physically ready; and now it’s time to polish your training rituals to do your best on Marathon Day. The best way to do that is to reflect on what you’ve learned about your body along this journey, and to refine your plans accordingly. Keeping in mind that Marathon weekend is NOT the time to try something new, here are some questions you need to ask yourself. If your answers to any of the questions below is “no”, you’ve got four weeks (including 3 group Sunday runs) to make the necessary adjustments. If you need guidance in any of these areas, feel free to talk to me or Anna.
1) Am I pain-free? If yes, awesome! If not, please see Dr. Hannan ASAP, and follow his advice about stretching and strengthening.
2) Do I have the right clothing and gear? If you are not chafing anywhere, haven’t gotten blisters, and are happy with how you are carrying your phone (if you choose to do so), you’re good. If you have discomfort, start trying new clothing and gear until it feels right.
3) Am I pacing myself appropriately? If you’re getting to the end of the long runs/walks thinking “I feel great, and yes, I could go a few more miles”, you’re good. If not, experiment with either slowing down your overall pace, or mixing in more walking with your running. One approach is to try walking for the first minute of each mile, then going back to your normal pace.
4) Am I eating the right pre-run dinner and breakfast? If you’re still feeling strong after 6-8 miles, the answer is probably yes. If you’re starting to feel like you’re running out of energy at that point, try the following 3 changes: eat more carbs and less fat and protein for dinner the night before; eat more “good carbs” (oatmeal, whole wheat bread, pancakes, cereal, etc.) for breakfast at least 30 minutes before you start; and drink lots of water with dinner and breakfast.
5) Am I feeling as strong for the last few miles as I did for the first few? If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, try drinking and eating more at the rest stops and/or along the way. Today, as I was approaching the full marathon turnaround, I confess that I was thinking about how lousy I felt, how slow I was going, and that I should just quit when I got back to the first water stop and get a ride back to BTS for the last 5 miles. But, I had lots of water at that turnaround point, and had a GU at mile 10 and again at mile 14. Within minutes of leaving that turnaround point, I was so full of energy that I surprised myself by how much faster I was able to run and how good I felt for the second half of the route. Proper hydration and nutrition really works.