Running Errands & Marathon Advice

Todays Morning Workout- 9 Miles at 7:30 pace. Evening Workout- 4 Miles at an easy pace.

Today was one of those few days where I was able to do some running related errands. First I went to get my blood taken to recheck my iron levels. My gut is telling me it’s up from last time but I won’t hear back until Monday. After that I was able to pick up some new shoes. The heels and tread on my current pairs were horrendous. Then after a run it was back to the real world of not so fun errands. womp womp.

Saucony Rides from my favorite running store.

A friend of mine is running a marathon this weekend and hoping for (I KNOW she will get it ) a big PR. She asked me for some advice and I figured why not make it into a blog post. Keep in mind I am no running expert. There are plenty of speedier, more accomplished running bloggers out there (I think I read them all!) but here are a few things that get me through those 26.2 miles that aren’t the typical “Don’t try anything new” type advice and lean a bit towards the mental side of things. Personally I’ve been lucky enough to have current and past coaches that have always given me some amazing advice so it’s only fair to share. Hopefully it will help a few of you in your upcoming Fall marathons.

1. Run the Race in Segments. I have a loop in my neighborhood that is 5 miles around. It’s a nice, quiet, loop and I love it. Because of that, 5 miles has become my “safe” distance. On marathon race day I NEVER once allow myself to think 26.2 miles. I always think “5 miles.” When I start, I focus on getting to Mile 5. At Mile 5 I focus on getting to Mile 10, etc. Pick what you consider to be a comfortable “safe” distance and focus on chomping at that bit. Once you get to Mile 20 I then break it down by 3 miles.

2. No Sleep, No Problem This one is easy. No matter how much my mind tells my body it’s not nervous, it’s nervous. I think I slept about 15 minutes before the Twin Cities Marathon and about 2 hours before the Boston Marathon. I roomed with Chanthana before both races and spent 95% of the night lying in my bed trying to be quiet so I wouldn’t bother her.) No sleep the night before is not the end of the world. Don’t even worry about it, you can nap after the race.

3. Wolf Pack One thing I wish I had known for my first marathon is that it is perfectly normal to ask complete strangers if you can run with them. Find a Pack….and stick with it. Fortunately in the majority of my races people have asked to race with me and without hesitation I always say yes. I am honest right away and say “I would LOVE to pace with you but I’m warning you, I won’t be talking much.” To my knowledge, no one has ever been offended by that. Some of these people I’ve even become really great friends with. Wait until mile 4-5 until you choose your new friend, so you get an idea of if their pace is steady or not. Also, don’t be that pack runner who never helps keep the pace honest or blocks the wind. There will be times when you feel good and they feel bad, there will be times when they feel good and you feel bad. It’s important that when you feel bad, focus on staying with them until you get your momentum back on track.

4. Don’t Panic Is it not annoying when people say “The first 10 miles should feel like you are jogging.” Yes, ideally that is the case. Ideally we would all be breaking the world record. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you get started and the pace does NOT feel smooth or comfortable. Don’t stress yourself out and second guess your goal pace. Just like sometimes you don’t hit a nice groove in a training run for awhile, sometimes you won’t find a smooth pace on Marathon Day until an hour or so. You’ll get there.

5. Do not Disassociate I’ve discussed this one in the past. When things are going rough you are going to be tempted to let your mind wander, to think about anything other than the race. Don’t do that. Live in the moment. Focus on anything good, like form or temperature, anything positive. Tell yourself that you WANTED to run this marathon, you’ve worked hard for it, and the moment is worth fighting for. Trick your mind into loving that pain. The moment you start disassociating is the moment your pace will start to fade. This is a VERY tough one, one I am still working on during every single race.

6. Make Eye Contact and Smile This sounds ridiculous, but it works. When you are feeling like you are losing momentum find a spectator, make eye contact, and smile. I swear, Force the SMILE, you will feel better. You will briefly remember that you love this crazy sport and be grateful that you are racing and not standing on the side line injured. Regain your focus and get back after it.

7. If it’s hot, drink more than you think you need. No explanation needed, just do it.

8. Have a Strong Word or Phrase Ready Unless you are running the marathon for a fun casual time, things are going to hurt. There is no getting around it. Prep your mind and know that by Mile 20 you are going to feel like you are running through hot lava. That is the time to start repeating whatever word or phrase you have prepared for yourself. At my first Boston when I was trying for Sub 3 hours, I repeated no less than 500 times “I decide my Destiny.” I saw a NYC firefighter say it on an Amazing Race episode the year before and it stuck with me. I won’t tell you what I have planned for Philly but I will tell you after the race. It’s kinda like a wish, don’t want to give away that magic until your wish comes true.

Ok guys & gals, Hope you enjoyed my little ramblings. Before I go I want to share with you two great links to giveaways that the Bedgear company is currently hosting. I swear by their products and by the looks of it, the odds to win are good. (I know nothing about football but the Jets have over 44 penalties?! That’s over 44 high-end pillows being given away 🙂 ) Here are the links:

Nets Giveaway

Jets Penalty Giveaway

Have a great Friday and weekend everyone!!

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28 thoughts on “Running Errands & Marathon Advice

  1. Great post, Kris! I love the mental tips/tricks especially – that’s usually a neglected race-prep area for a lot of runners (myself included) and it’s nice to have some some guidance on what to think about. I also wholeheartedly second the idea of the pack – or even just talking to other runners near you and finding someone who is looking to run about the same goal time. It helped me tremendously in Erie (Presque Isle) this year. I ended up running with several different folks throughout the run (as people dropped pace or I sped up), but it made all the difference. Just say hello and see if you get a response (and that’s another reason why I never race with headphones!). I also like the mental (kind of) trick to say hello or thank you to the volunteers or course marshalls. When I’m hurting at mile 20+ it’s nice to have that as something to focus on (vs. the fact that I’m in pain!) and saying “thank you” to those folks helps take my mind off the pain – and usually gets me a response back which boosts my spirits!

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  2. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you!!! You rock. Awesome tips, great post, love it all…now I’m going to go eat my 5th bagel of the day;-)
    ps – perfectly said about wishing your goal time away…that’s why I didn’t share my number on the blog, felt weird 🙂

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  3. I like your tips! I ended up running close to one man for a lot of the race and we talked some, I wish I could have run more with him, but I definitely hit “the wall” because of the heat and he didn’t (he’d run 70+ marathons, it was my first… so yeah!). Picking out someone to run with is a really great idea and helped me a lot, it was fun learning about David and his other marathons.

    Your new shoes are pretty awesome :). I am getting some soon too, and pretty excited. I hope your iron results come back good too, I have definitely been supplementing lately. I have struggled with low ferritin counts too.

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  4. Did you write this post just for me? Ha-I kid. One of the reasons you truly inspire me (on and off the blogging world) is the fact that you are so honest about marathon training and racing. Find a friend and follow them. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing that but hopefully there won’t be a terrible amount of wind in NY.

    I’ve always found making eye contact with fellow racers and spectators is a huge motivator for me. For that brief moment I feel disconnected from that race and the pain I’m probably in.

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  5. Kris, I LOVE your running tips! I agree that no sleep = not an issue, and I don’t let myself worry about it. Before my last Half Ironman I got about 2 hrs sleep and then raced a 40 min PR! And like you, I slept very little before Boston and still had a decent race. I also had a mantra there, it was DNF (Do Not Fail rather than Did Not Finish!) I think the key with many of these messages is not to let things like that get under your skin and convince you that you’ll have a bad race as a result. Can’t wait to hear your Philly mantra after that race!

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  6. Love these tips! Like RoseRunner, I’ll be bookmarking this post – and probably re-reading it 50 times before MCM. I haven’t thought about running in a pack before – that’s a great tip. Tip #5 is great — I tend to dissociate when I’m having a rough time so I definitely need to work on focusing and embracing the moment.

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  7. The do-not-dissociate tip is great and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, but I’ve certainly fallen into the trap and then glanced at my watch, “oh crap!” Different from the usual “maintain focus” tip. Bookmark worthy for sure. Thank you!

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