May 24, 2013

What Is My Race Plan?

Believe it or not, I run my best without a race plan. Yes, I have a goal and I know the average pace I need to achieve it. I will just focus on the average pace. My first marathon was my best because I didn’t really have big plans. I had a number in my mind that I wanted to beat and I was pretty sure I could do it based on my training. I trusted my training and I had faith in myself. I just wanted to finish!  I did not push myself too hard and managed to run a 4:05.

My second marathon was a little different, I wore one of those pace bands to keep me on track and I stared at my Garmin the entire time. My goal was to run a sub four marathon. Once the 4-hour pace group passed me I was a nervous wreck trying to calculate the pace I needed to run to get me to the finish in under 4 hours. That was a big mess and it was way too much for someone who hit the wall, was dying a slow death and in lots of pain! The result was yet another 4:05!

My plan for Marathon #3 is really simple. I have tried to take all of the positive aspects of my training and the experiences from my past two marathons to come up with a plan that might result in a more positive experience.

1. Don’t go out too fast! I am guilty of this in pretty much every race I run but I am going to try my hardest to resist the urge because I know the consequences.

2. Settle into a pace that is comfortable and back off if I know that it won’t last 26.2 miles. If it is not my day to run a sub four marathon than I will accept it and do my best to get as close to it as possible. If the weather is not going to allow for a great race then I will adjust my goals accordingly. I don’t want to push myself to run a tough race if there isn’t going to be a PR involved. We all know when the conditions are perfect for that PR.

3. Don’t stare at the Garmin the entire time! During my training, I was able to run my longest runs at a decent pace only because I was not babysitting my Garmin. I would glance at it occasionally and realize that I was running at a 8:30-8:40 pace when it felt more like a 9:00-9:15 pace. I know that controlling my pace in the early stages is key but I also want to run by feel and if my pace feels comfortable I will stick with it.

4. Stay hydrated and GU every 5 miles just as I did during my training. As much as I would love to not wear my hydration belt, I am going to since I need my water when I need it and not when there is a water stop.

5. Miles 20-26.2 are the worst for me so I am going to try something new. I will turn on my music these last 6.2 miles. Hopefully I remember to turn it on since I am not a big fan of listening to music when running a marathon. In my opinion, you miss out on the course entertainment and crowd support when you have music in your ears. From what I have heard, the marathon I am running lacks course support and entertainment for a large part of the course so it may do me some good. I will also pass by the Finish Line when I reach Mile 21, which will be mentally tough for me. I will need the distraction to pull me through these final miles.

Sunday cannot come fast enough. I am nervous yet incredibly excited all at the same time. Thank you to everyone who has given me great advice and encouragement to run the best race that I possibly can. Thank you for believing in me more than I believe in myself....


  1. I am so so so excited for you! Stick to your goals, fight the last 5 miles you run by the finish, and you got this! GO SANDY!

  2. Go get it, girl!!!! I'm so excited for you and I think you're going to have a GREAT time on Sunday! Can't wait to read all about it.........just run your race!

  3. Psyched for you! You've got this!

  4. I'll be rooting for you from Arizona! You're going to do great! Gooooood luck!

  5. That's a great plan (I'm a special fan of number one!), and with all of that in mind you can do it! My fingers are crossed for you my friend--best of luck!

  6. Your plan (or non-plan :)) sounds very solid and feasible. The "don't go out too fast" really worked for me 2 wks ago, so I can't encourage you enough to meet that one goal (if that's the only goal you work on). I think if you meet that one, the rest will happen naturally.

    Good that you already know about passing the finish at mile 21. That could definitely be a mental obstacle, but you won't be fazed, cuz you're going to OWN THIS RACE!!!!!!!!!

    Happy marathon eve.....go own (and enjoy) your race :)

  7. Good Luck!! I also have to learn not to go out too fast, a bad habit I also have. Then I lose gas along the way and burn out. You can do this!! You have rocked your training.

  8. cheering for you!!!! You got this lady!! xoxo!