After running the Indianapolis Marathon on October 19 and not qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I seriously considered running another marathon in December. I had some things to consider before making a final decision:
Why would I be running another marathon?
What if I run this marathon and don’t qualify for Boston?
Can I stay mentally focused through this marathon and then immediately start my Ironman training in January?
After weighing all of these questions, I decided that I should not foster the thought of running another marathon in December and instead give myself some down time…time to recharge the batteries before going full throttle with Ironman training. What does this mean? My “Off Season” is in full swing…hiking in the woods, getting out and riding my cross bike, taking the dogs for walks, sitting by the campfire, putting puzzles together, reading good books, chopping down trees for firewood, going to hot yoga and doing what I feel like doing instead of what I have to do.
I remind myself or the Iron Hippie (my husband) of this daily, but the Indianapolis Marathon on Saturday was a true test of this mantra. Nervous people and a cool, rainy race morning made the for perfect storm…irritable athletes. “Control what you can control and the rest will take care of itself”…I not only reminded myself of this on race morning, but also those around me.
Things that are in my control:
How I respond to any situation
My apparel (on a cold, wet morning, this is something I want to be sure to control)
“Ultimately, triathlon is about pain – how you endure it and the mechanisms you put in place to deal with it when it comes.” ~Chris McCormack
With the Indianapolis Marathon just around the corner, it is time to be reminded to “Embrace the Suck” on race day. If you truly race, you are going to feel pain at some point during your race and it will suck. “Embracing the suck” is all about how you handle the pain when it shows up. Being mentally prepared for the pain and “suck” is essential to peak performance on race day.
How do we prepare to embrace the suck? Easy…train…during tough workouts, push your body to the moments that suck and take note of where your mind goes during the suck moments. Once you know what this pain feels like, you can determine a plan to help you deal with it on race day. Make a checklist that you run through, accept pain as an inevitable…don’t try to deny that it will show up, positive self-talk can also help keep you focused, smile 🙂 (that always seems to work for me…learning this one from the best…Chrissie Wellington), focus on controlled breathing, determine if your nutrition is in check, make sure you are as relaxed as you can be so you aren’t wasting unnecessary energy, focus on stride pattern and/or stride cadence (for those who are in tune with their stride), and stay in control.
Your body will do anything your mind tells it to, so stay in control. Never lose control of your mind when things get challenging. Stay focused and EMBRACE THE SUCK!!
With the Indianapolis Marathon just over one week away, I was reminded of the importance of pacing while running my last 20 mile run last Friday night. So many people start out fast (which is easy to do because of adrenaline and the energy of surrounding athletes at the start line) and then tucker out as the race progresses.
What is my pacing strategy on race day? For a marathon, I try to take the first 3-5 miles relatively easy, warming up the body and not pushing the pace too much. After my warm up, I pick up the pace a bit and go with how I feel…pushing my body, maintaining a slightly higher heart rate (low Z3), but maintaining a strong, steady pace. I also start to focus on people further in front of me that I can pick off and sing in my own head…Another One Bites the Dust. I continue to maintain this pace and/or heart rate through mile 22 where I then begin to focus on the last 4.2 miles and start to increase my pace and heart rate if I am physically able.
I purposefully try not to run a steady paced marathon as this causes me to go out faster than I should. My body responds well to a warm-up and then finding that comfortable pace to maintain.
There are many factors that can influence my pacing…weather, lack of sleep, nutrition, stress, mental focus. One thing I have learned over the many marathons I have run is not to push myself into the med tent on race day.