A marathon is not only a physical feat, but a mental one. The best way to have a great race is not just to train, but to prepare.
- Train within your ability. There are a numerous training plans available. Find one that fits you. Don’t be afraid to consult with a Coach. No matter your ability, it never hurts to have a professional help you along the way.
- Train at race time. Plan your long runs the same time and same day of the week as your race. Your body has a memory and will learn to run the distance at that time.
- Experiment. Try energy gels, sports drinks, try it all. Get it down to a science and find out what works for you. Train with what sports drink and energy gels will be provided at the aid stations on the race course. If while experimenting you find they do not work for you, plan a way to carry your own.
- Train for the course. If it is a hilly course, don’t do all your training on flat surfaces. Even better if you can train on the actual race course.
- 18 Mile training runs will drive you batty. Ask anyone. 17 miles, 19 miles, even 22 miles, no problem. 18 will drive you bonkers. Just accept it, tackle it and run 18.1 if you have to.
- Have a dress rehearsal. On a training run wear what you plan to wear in the race, fuel and hydrate like you plan to race day. If something isn’t right, you’ll have time to make changes before race day.
- You will go crazy. There will be a time when your training tapers down that you will experience what has been called: Taper Madness, Taper Crazies, or Taper Tantrums. Whatever you call it, all your nervous pent up energy will make you a little looney and edgy to say the least. Having a good friend to talk to will really help during this time.
- Carb load does not equal a car load of food. While experimenting, you should have figured out your best meal for the night before a long run. Eat what you know is tried and true the night before the race. You do not want to be searching for a porta potty on the race course like a heat seeking missile.
- It’s code. Call it superstition, or an unwritten rule, NEVER wear the race shirt in the race.
- Relax. Race day you know what to do. You’ve trained, experimented, prepared. So relax and enjoy the marathon. When you’ve finished put on that race shirt, slap a 26.2 sticker on your car, and wear your medal with pride. You ARE a marathoner.
*This artical was originally published and can be seen in Health Your Way Online Magazine