So I realized that I am now on a major countdown–only three months until my first marathon! And I’ll be honest, it is kind of messing with my head.
First of all, I am way ahead of any training programme, but I can’t get much further with my long distance runs because the heat is a serious factor that could be very detrimental to my health if I push it too much. But I still have three months to go.
To help me stay motivated and continuing with maintaining the level I am at, I have taken to devising various strategies for race day. I don’t intentionally have a handful of strategies; rather, I discuss all my options with myself as I hit the road (or the treadmill) and experience the ups and downs of training for this race.
When things aren’t going well in a run, I usually remind myself that my strategy can be to run the first 10-13 miles then walk the rest of the way, as I’ll still finish within the allotted time. In all honesty, I would be very disappointed in myself if this was the case, so I have other ideas of how race day may play out.
1. Get to 13 miles, see how I’m doing. Decide if I can push for a four-hour finish. Make it happen (this is what I tell myself when my long run is easy and all is right in my world).
2. Run the whole time, except when I get to an aid station. Walk through the aid stations to get a short break and take off again when I have comfortably consumed my food and water.
3. Relax and enjoy the run. Try to keep it around 9:30/10:00 min miles, but if I see something that I want to take a picture of, I need to pull out my phone and snap the photo! After all, I’ll only get one first marathon!
4. Push it until mile 17/18, when I know I will struggle. Take a nice walk break then. When I feel rested, push on a decent pace to Beat the Bridge and finish strong.
OK, there are many more plans in my head, but they seem to all be similar. I want to finish strong, but I also want to have fun – and remain injury free (I do have another marathon four weeks later!) I’m sure the reality of race day – barring sweltering or freezing temperatures or torrential downpour – will be somewhere in all of these plans, and I’ll just have to adjust. Maybe that is my true strategy: that I see how the race goes and be flexible with how I attack it. For someone who is a control freak like me, that is a hard thing to do.
But since I’m bound and determined to finish, have fun and be ready to run another 26.2 the following month, having a flexible strategy for this run will be the best way to go!