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Ready or Not - It’s Marathon Month!

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It’s not uncommon that during the few final weeks of marathon training your mind starts going in a million directions - all kinds of interesting ideas, thoughts and doubts can pop up. Here are a few that have entered my warped brain over the years.

“What if I catch that cold that is going around?”

“Are my shoes broken in enough? Wait. Maybe they are too old.”

“Holy #*$@, I just bonked on my last long run.”

“Why did I tell people I signed up for this?

“Does my ankle suddenly hurt or is it in my head?” (It was in my head.)

“Everyone I see running seems to be so much faster than me.”

“What if I have tummy troubles during the race?”

While all of these concerns are normal, they can drive a person a bit nuts. Recognizing the best defense is a good offense, here are few final training tips aimed at preparing your body and mind as race day nears.

The Body

  • Listen to your gut. All physical aspects of your body will be tested on race day and that includes your stomach. This is certainly not the time to try out new recipes the night before a long run, or test out different gels or chews as part of your workouts. Instead, make a detailed list of the foods and meals that are tried and true - the ones that have proven their ability to sustain your energy while also being gentle on your stomach. In these final weeks - and especially during race week - your motto is “eat what you know works.” This practice will ensure you don’t do a tour of the porta potties along the race course.

  • There is no such thing as a make-up long run. I know all too well how demoralizing it can be to have a bad long run at the end of a training program. Inevitably, doubts of your racing ability are shoved to the forefront of your mind. While it might be tempting to take another shot at that final 16 or 18 miler, re-doing a long run is a big no-no. Ask yourself this very important question: Do you want to have a good training run or a good race? Because when you put those extra miles on your legs before race day, that is the decision you are asking your body to make.  

  • Show your body a little gratitude. The training that a marathoner goes through is grueling. There is absolutely no way to prepare to run 26.2 miles without putting a great deal of stress on your body. Now is the time to show yourself a little love.

    • Schedule a restorative massage with a trusted therapist a week in advance of the race; too close to the race and you might feel fatigued.

    • Take hot baths with epsom salt to relax your muscles.

    • Foam roll and stretch daily.

    • Reduce the intensity off of your strength training workouts.

    • Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night and take naps if you’re able.

    • Drink your fluids!

The Mind

  • Trust your training. The best medicine for a racing mind is not to look forward, but rather to look back. The training you have undergone is, in fact, the answer to all of your self-doubts and questions. You’ve already undergone dozens of short “easy” runs, speed work sessions and long endurance runs that have prepared your body to travel 26.2 miles on nothing but your own two legs. And during that training, you’ve developed willpower and a deep, unquestionable strength that will carry you across the finish line.

  • It’s you against you. Comparing yourself to other runners can leave you feeling insecure and inadequate. Unless you are an elite racer, there will always be someone faster than you; someone who looks fitter; someone who makes running look effortless. Good for them! But when you race a marathon, you need not look any further than your own reflection for the only competitor that matters.

  • You got guts… now get your glory. Just one percent of the population will run a marathon in their lifetime. It doesn’t take guts to sign up, it takes guts to train for the race and run it. On race morning, don’t forget - you’ve got guts, now go get your glory…er, medal!

Need a pick-me-up or last minute advice before race day? Call on us at RunFit MKE and we will support you right up to the starting line. You don’t need to be a client to be part of our community.

If you liked this blog, here are some additional insights from Coach Karen...

Karen Berenson