All my best wishes and hopes are with everyone doing the marathon on Sunday! I’ll be thinking of all of you! I’m a marathon veteran—I ran in 2007—and I have a few suggestions for getting the most out of your day:
- Congratulations—you’ve made it to the start! This is a huge accomplishment by itself.
- All your hard work is behind you now! You’ve worked and trained and sacrificed to make this day possible—the long training runs, runs in heat and humidity, runs in the rain and wind, morning runs in the dark, cross-training (I hope!). Take a little time to appreciate yourself, give yourself an A+++ for effort, then let it fall away. You’re as ready now as you ever will be. All you have to do now is go home.
- Being excited—and even a little scared—is perfectly normal. Yes, a marathon is a big deal. But I know you can do it!
- You know all this stuff: Don’t wear new shoes, do wear your most comfortable running clothes, etc., etc. Bring a few extras of your favorite gels, chews, bars, etc. Even if you don’t need them, another runner might like a little extra boost. Those little salt packets and sodium gels are handy, too.
- Before you start, find a moment to just be quiet with yourself. Notice whatever you’re feeling—I hope it’s all good—and acknowledge it.
- Pace yourself! You already know this, but please, please don’t go at your top speed! The start will be mobbed anyway, but once you get past mile 1 or so, settle into an easy pace that you can keep up without wearing yourself out.
- Listen to your body! As you’re running, look outside yourself and take in the scene around you: your fellow runners, the weather, the view, the next fluid station, the next toilets. Do this whenever you remember. Distraction from your aches and pains does help.
- If you’re starting to feel worn out, notice how you’re running. You can always slow down (a bit), and you can always shorten your stride. Check your breathing: Talk to your running neighbors. If you can’t carry on a conversation, you’re going too fast.
- THE WALL: Yes, it is out there, somewhere on First Avenue. Your body needs electrolytes, so pay attention. You can plan to have a friend waiting for you on First Avenue with a banana or extra sodium gels. There’s no shame in walking if you need to.
- The Bronx has the best music!
Most important, get out there and enjoy yourself! All those people out there are cheering for YOU! This is your day, and you deserve to feel proud!
Please feel free to send me any questions you might have. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Meanwhile, happy running!