Monday, June 05, 2006

Marathon strategy


I've certainly thought about my goals and strategies for previous races, but I don't think I've ever actually written them out before. This time around it’s been helpful to see it down on paper. There really isn't any question that I'm going to give it all I've got.

This picture from last year amuses me. Don't I look like the winner? But why isn't everyone cheering wildly?

I haven’t really mentioned my training partner S who is also registered for NODM. She started running with me last year and decided in January that she wanted to train for a half marathon. She’s a natural athlete (was a semi-elite skier in high school) who’s involved in many recreational activities. Pretty much from the time she started running with me she could crank out 10-mile runs without any trouble. She’s more of a slow-twitch type but I knew she’d kick my butt in the half-marathon last month…which she did by 3 minutes. Anyway, since she was following my running schedule, which is a marathon training schedule, she decided to go ahead and register for NODM too. Her goal was/is to finish and help push me to a PR. What a great friend! But a few days after our 22 miler she developed a pain on the top of her foot near the ankle. The diagnosis is fuzzy. It could be a strained ligament or could possibly be a mild stress fracture. Its not swollen, so it probably isn’t severe. But it’s bad enough that its painful to run and she needs to be cautious so she doesn’t aggravate it. She’s been resting and biking with the intent of starting the marathon and seeing how she feels. She’s going to be smart about it and has every intention of dropping out if she needs to. She has enough athletic training to know when its pain she can run through or pain that means she’s only making it worse.

So I hope she can run, and I hope we can run together.

Here's my game plan....

Time Goals:

1) Beat last year’s time on this course (and my current marathon PR): 4:37:43
2) < 4:30
3) < 4:25

Strategies:

• Print out splits for 10:15 and pin to shirt or race number. At a 10:15 pace I’d accomplish my first 2 goals and also have something to beat to achieve goal #3. I think that’s better for me mentally, than to print out something more ambitious, but possibly feel like I'm struggling to keep up.
• Record my lap times but try to run how I feel rather than by the clock
• In the past I’ve been too conservative with the gels (not starting them early enough), so I’ll start taking gels earlier when my stomach is still happy and then ease off if I start feeling nauseous.
• Run to and then walk through all aid stations
• Strive for an even pace (all my best races seem to have an even pace), but try to pick it up at the end.
• No whining!

Food/Fluids:

• Dinner: potatoes with something else light
• Breakfast: dry cereal (Clifford Crunch or Mighty Bites!) or peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 6 am.
• Pre-Race fluids/fuel: 16-20 oz of full strength sports drink by 7 am. Starbucks double shot by 8 am. 8-10 oz water and a gel at 8:50 (after last potty stop).
• Carry: 2-3 Hammer gels and 8 SUCCEED! Caps. Take one gel approximately every hour with water and 1 SUCEED! Cap every ½-1 hour. (Hammer gels will be available on the course.)
• Aid stations. Drink HEED at every aid station except when taking a gel. No more gels after mile 20 unless stomach feels good.

I don’t want to try anything new on race day, but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

8 comments:

olga said...

A very sound plan, very smart. You'll do great.

Carrie said...

I'm amazed at how late the marathon starts. What a difference. Races here always start at 7 am at the LATEST. They are generally 5:30 or 6 am starts. Makes sense 'cause it's blazing hot to be running at 10 am, but still to actually not be half-asleep when running would be a good thing.

Ginger Breadman said...

Dang, you're organized. I guess it all alleviates a lot of anxiety come race day. Sounds like you're more than ready! Stay calm and relaxed this week and have fun with the race.

Sarah said...

No kidding, Carrie! I think the Honolulu marathon starts at 5 am! But it's probably preferable than being out in the hot sun for too long.

Kurt in Boston said...

Good plan/strategies. Have you done the Starbucks thing before? I've been trying to decide what to do about coffee (I drink a lot and don't want the caffeine headache during the race). Is there a SBX in Sequim?

I'm still fine-tuning my race plan, but I'll post it soon. See you this weekend!

Sarah Elaine said...

Sounds like a good plan. I personally believe that writing out goals is a wonderful exercises... Helps to clarify and crystalize them in your mind.

Kim said...

Sounds like a good plan to me, you're an experienced marathoner!
I usually do the 3 tiered goals for a race also. Good luck!!

GraceD said...

Just reveling in the wealth of information in this post. Thank you for these juicy details. There's much to learn here.