First Marathon Advice (Part 2 of 2)

By time this gem posts, I will be in Fort Worth getting ready for my 20-mile race at the Fort Worth Marathon.  (Because of the number of Dallas/Fort Worth folks who run White Rock Marathon, they offer a 20-mile option since it falls three weeks prior to White Rock - perfect for the last long run.)
Anyhow, on to part 2.  First, for the record, the blogging community completely rocks, because not a single person I asked turned me down for advice.  So let's get straight to it...
First is the Diva of running... Running Diva Mom, of course.  She is extremely upbeat, an amazing runner, and has two crazy cute kiddos.  You can recognize her by her crazy Bondi Band style!  She's always searching out new products to introduce us to, and I still can't get over how she runs pushing that car with Little Dude in it.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

I would suggest enjoying the journey. Remove the headphones and take it all in. Listen to the crowd, the music, your breathing, your footsteps. It's totally a boost having folks read your bib number or name and giving you some added, personal encouragement.

Jamie

My favorite blog in terms of complete wealth of information is RunnerDude.  This guy knows his stuff.  From nutrition to speed workouts, from injury prevention to interviewing the running elite, he is the place to go.  He's an encyclopedia of useful information written in terms that the Average Joe runner, like me, can understand.
"Trust in Your Training." New marathoners often doubt and second-guess, almost get cold feet right before the marathon. Newbies need to constantly remind themselves to "Trust Your Training." If you've put in the workouts and the long runs and all the mileage, then you're ready. There are some factors you can't control, like illness or the weather, heat, etc. and when those occur, you just have to roll with the punches.

Newbies will sometimes fall into the "Expo trap" and see all this new "stuff" they think they nee. The should fight hard to resist the impulse sampling and buying urge. If they do buy new shoes or clothing, or a hydration belt, etc., they need to save it for the next race. Besides "Trust Your Training" my other biggie is "Never try anything on race day that you haven't tested in training."

Hope this helps,
Thanks!
Thad

The next person I asked was Shut Up and Run.  This lady is hilarious.  I do mean hilarious.  I just have to say that I was a little shocked her advice didn't include bringing a clean pair of undies.  Did I mention that SUAR ran 21 miles of the TransRockies Trail Run with Dean Karnazes?  Yeah, she's that cool.  She'll also be at Boston next year, despite being currently sidelined.
You are tough and strong. Tougher and stronger than you think you are. When you hit those lows, you will know what to do. You will look inside and as much as you want to stop, your legs will keep turning over at the pace you tell them to. You have put in your time. Trust your training. You were disciplined and consistent. Your body knows how to do this.

Some last minute tips:
• Start slow. Keep it at least 30-60 below marathon pace for the first couple of miles
• Smile. Take it in. You are running a freaking marathon. You are lucky, gifted and strong.
• When you pass people, and you will, take just a bit of their energy for yourself
• Divide the race into sections if you think this will help you mentally. 4-five mile runs and one 10K works for me.
• To distract yourself from being tired, bored, in pain Think outside the body. Let your mind take over from your body and try to focus on the outside -- the spectators, the signs, the other runners, the scenery.
• Don’t worry if you don’t sleep the night before. Most people toss and turn. Even if you get no sleep at all, it won’t matter for tomorrow.
• Above all, run your own race. At the finish line, you want to be able to think back and know that you left everything you had on the marathon course. Whether you finish in four hours or six hours, you always want to be reassured that you did the absolute best you could. If you ever want to quit (and I know you won’t) remember that lasts forever. No regrets!

Beth

Tall Mom is a fantastic inspiration and so incredibly supportive to her running buddies (she's the queen of the well-deserved shout-out).  I love her posts.  She's all about getting others involved.  She's also incredibly open and honest and sweet about her own running, family, and friends.  She will also be hitting Boston next year (I'm starting to get jealous).  Mel shared with me the amazing pep talk she recently gave to Tricia, who is running her first marathon today.

One thing that I really try to press on people so close to the big day is to RELAX!!! Everything in you wants to stress, worry, overthink, overplan= ANXIETY!! At this point you have done all you can do, there is no reason to worry about that which you cannot control. The best thing you can do for yourself is to RELAX..

If your brain wants to think about the Marathon think about the Finish line and the smile you will have. Think about the water stops and the people out there to support you, who are cheering for YOU. Think about the course, how the roads are closed just for you, the city is yours. Think about your outfit and smiling for the photogs (papparazzi). Think about how strong you are, your heart pumping, your muscles flexing, your feet effortlessly moving across the pavement... There are sooo many good things to think about, that you should RELAX and focus on all positives..

The Marathon is not going to be easy, especially if you have had injuries.. Listen to your body. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR TIME!!! I repeat.. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR TIME!! If you have to walk, do it.

You know yourself and how your brain works. Be aware of when you are letting your mind control your body. Negative thoughts have no place in the Marathon. You are running 26.2+ miles physically and mentally. I am telling you, if you FOCUS on maintaining a positive or neutral mindset the entire race you will truly enjoy the whole race. At the end your brain will be as done as your body is, but you will be sooo happy!!

Enjoy your victory lap!!

And last, but definitely not least is EMZ.  Not only can the chick run a 50-mile race, but she can make you laugh until you wet yourself, AND is a huge cheerleader for other runners.  She is the queen of the You. Can. Do. It. attitude.  And, you guessed it, she'll be in Boston in 2011 too.  Maybe I need to fly up just to cheer!!!   

1. Pick spots along the course so you can see friends and family. They will boost you up every time you see them! Guaranteed.

2. Wear body glide.

3. Be VERY careful what you put into your body. During runs as well as pre & post runs. Mixing Gu with sports drinks can be disastrous for your stomach.

4. Run YOUR race. No one else's. This run is for you. Own it.

5. Run your long runs as though you are preparing for your actual race. Eat and drink what you will eat & drink before your marathon and on marathon morning. Run in what you plan on running in on race day.....everything. Down to the socks & sunglasses.

6. Don't go out too fast. Keep a steady pace throughout the race. You can always speed up later on.

7. Wear the dang medal. Everywhere. You. Can. ;)

Emz

I don't think there's any way to run a bad race after hearing that advice, do you?  There's something about hearing it from people that a lot of us follow on a daily basis that really makes it stick.  I will be playing each of you over in my head on race day!  Thank you so much for participating in this - Sarah, Amanda, Tonia, Marcia, Jamie, Thad, Beth, Mel, and Emily.

Don't forget to enter my SportHook Giveaway.