4 miles easy
9:18 avg pace
I’m a total planner. Insane planner. I don’t think there is a spontaneous bone in my body. It shouldn’t be a surprise that when it comes to the marathon I leave nothing to chance (well, nothing that I have control of…if only I could control the weather). I’m not talking race logistics: hotel, directions, parking…although I do enjoy planning that. I’m talking strategy; how will you run the race? What’s your plan?
I used to run marathons with no plan. Kind of just go out there and see how I feel. This is a great approach if you are a beginner (first marathon). Your goal should be to enjoy yourself, soak it all in, and finish strong. Once I started having a time goal in mind, I found that the more I planned and strategized, the better I did.
So what’s my plan for Sunday’s race?
Start out slow
The best thing you could ever do is to start the marathon slowly (or any race really). Doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. This works every time, trust me! You should never go faster than your goal marathon pace (GMP) in these early miles. In fact, I plan on going slower than GMP for the first 3 miles. It’s tough, especially when everyone around you is flying by and you have so much nervous energy. Conserve that energy because no matter how great of a race you are having, everything will start to hurt during those last few miles. And all that energy you saved early on will come in handy. It’s the difference between hitting the wall and just being uncomfortable during the last few miles. I’ve hit the wall more times to mention and, believe me, being uncomfortable is way better.
I plan to mimic my 18 and 22-mile training runs. Starting out with 9:00 pace and take it down from there. Around Mile 13, I plan on picking up the pace. Hopefully I can maintain that “pick-up” until the end.
Use a pace band
Pace bands: either you love ’em or hate ’em (I happen to love ’em). I’ve used them in every marathon, except for my first one. I’ll only look at it maybe every 4-5 miles, just to ensure I’m on track. My Garmin is what I really rely on to keep me on pace. I don’t wear it on my wrist either. I cut it out and tape it upside-down on my bib so all I have to do is look down. I have a 3:45 and a 3:50 pace band for Sunday.
Pace bands have also come in handy during those not-so-stellar marathons. Call me crazy but I like to know how far off I am from my goal time. I told you I wasn’t sane.
So that’s my plan for Sunday…slow and steady wins the race and obsessively monitor my Garmin!
What are some of your race day strategies? Do you use or like pace bands?