Marathon Week is finally here! Upon reflection, it is hard to believe that the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than one week away. 18 weeks ago we embarked on a journey which culminates this Sunday morning at 7:30 in Grant Park.
Through dedication, perseverance and effort, marathon goals which seemed Impossible on Memorial Day morphed into the Improbable by Labor Day and now, reaching the goal is Inevitable!
Less than 1% of the general population has completed a marathon. Be proud of your accomplishments. This week show your Marathon PRIDE:
P lan – have a plan for the race, and be sure to follow it.
R est — get plenty of rest every night this week.
I – I know my running type – generally runners fall into three types (even split runners, negative split runners or positive split runners) — know which type best suits your performance and plan your race strategy accordingly.
D rink – stay hydrated throughout the week, do not overdrink on Friday and Saturday. Your urine should be the color of pale lemonade.
E at – eat the right amount of protein and carbs.
60 – 65% (up to 70% towards the end of this week) Carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta and cereals);
10 – 15% protein (lean red meats, poultry and legumes);
25 – 30% fats (staying away from transfatty oils and fried foods).
Structure your time at the Expo – allowing enough time to tour, but not too much time on your feet.
Friday or Saturday – set out all the clothes you will wear on race day. Start with the clothes you will wear in the race. These should be clothes you have already worn on a long run. Go through a checklist. Start at the bottom and move up: shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, running bra (women) or band-aids; sunscreen; sunglasses and headwear (hat or visor). Dress as if the temperature will be 15 – 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature. While you may be cold in the starting corral, you will warm up quickly in the first mile or two. If the weather is predicted to be chilly, consider long pants or long sleeve shirt, gloves and a headband. Bring a large empty garbage bag to wear over your head and torso while in the starting corral, or throwaway clothes (don’t expect to see them again) to wear until the race starts. Pin your bib number to the front of your shirt.
On Marathon Day – allow extra time to arrive at the starting area. It is better to be early than to panic over being late. Line up in the appropriate corral, based on your predicted finish time.
Nothing New On Race Day!
If you are running with a pace group, know the pacer’s philosophy on pace and fluid stops. If the pacer’s way of running does not suit your plan or style, consider how to adjust so you meet the pace group after mile 20.
Don’t panic if you are off pace at the first few mile markers. The most common mistake of marathoners is running too fast in the early miles. It is better to be in control and a little behind pace during the first 5 miles than to run too fast. Even if you are 2:00 slower than your pace at mile 1, you have 25 MILES to make up 120 seconds (about 5 seconds per mile). Remember the race is timed by a chip, meaning your race time starts when YOU cross the starting line. And the time limit for the Marathon begins when the last person crosses the starting line.
Know when you will consume water, Gatorade and nutrition. If consuming gel packs or food, consume with water (not a sports drink) at planned intervals according to how you trained. Recommended consumption is 4 – 6 ounces of fluid every 15 – 20 minutes of the race, more if the weather is hot and humid or if you are a heavy ‘sweater’.
If running with a group or with a few friends, discuss where you will take fluids and where you will regroup after fluid stations. (There are multiple tables at each fluid station. Don’t stop at the first table. It is less crowded towards the back of the tables. Regroup about 100 yards after the last table at a fluid station – and know whether you will regroup on the right side or the left side of the road.)
Run tangents whenever possible. Remember your high school geometry – the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Run the race backwards. Think of how you want to finish the race – a big smile on your face as you crest “Mt. Roosevelt” and turn onto Columbus with the finish line in sight! Now plan the race backwards from the time you cross the finish line to the time you read this tip. Prepare for certain landmarks on the course, visualize how you will feel at mile 25, mile 20, mile 15, mile 10, mile 5 and at the start of the race.
Build a positive bubble around yourself.
Repeat to yourself – “I am prepared! I will have a great experience! Good form will carry me through!” Let the words and the thoughts sink in, listen to the words, believe the words, feel the words.
Success is when opportunity meets preparation. The preparation has been building over the last 18 weeks, the opportunity is Sunday morning – Success is the outcome!
Run (or Run/Walk) well.
And when all else fails, repeat: “Good form will carry me through.”
“Good form will carry you through.”
Coach Brendan Cournane will speak at the Main Stage of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Friday at 1:00 and Saturday at 4:00. The topic will be ‘Tips for First Time Marathoners’.
Coach Brendan Cournane is a marathon running coach and speaker based in Chicago. He has completed over 80 marathons, including a marathon in each of the 50 States and has also raced in Europe, South America, Antarctica, China and Africa (where he also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro). He has run the Boston Marathon six times and has a personal best marathon time of 3:16. He can be reached at Coach@CoachBrendan.com or through his website: www.CoachBrendan.com.