The Philadelphia Marathon is around the corner. Our LDFs are primed. Kim bounds up the hills. Kerry doesn’t miss a beat as she adds miles and miles to her repertoire. Kerry has collected and absorbed every morsel of essential pre-marathon wisdom.
My two cents:
The expo: you earned it, take your time and enjoy the scene. Soak up the pre-race pride and excitement, note the vast assortment of marathon bodies, grab every possible free sample and purchase a few gels or running supplies for your post marathon future.
Consider running with a pace team. The pace leaders (an exceedingly gregarious bunch) can be found at the expo; ask questions (no need to tell Kerry!) In the best of all running worlds, the optimal marathon pace (i.e. not too fast) and pace team is chosen. Fodder for tapering runs: obsessively defining and determining optimal. A pace team should slow your start enough to ensure a strong finish. For the commitment-phobe, some choices—-run near the leader, take in their coaching and encouragement or run outside the pace team’s orbit, using them as a visual guide. Either way, if the pace is not for you, drop away.
Seriously ponder your throw away clothes. A late November morning in Philadelphia can be icy cold. Consider a sweatshirt, sweats pants, gloves and hat–a blanket even. Ransack your closet; pillage your husband’s and kids’. Visit a thrift shop, Target or Wall Mart. Forget fashion pride. Chic is not the operative word pre-marathon.
We all try to run super light, but I loved the comfort a tiny Chap Stick provided during the Chicago Marathon.
Muse on mantras and alternative mantras. The words may not feel quite right until you begin. And while an apt mantra may come to you unbidden at mile 7, it’s heartening to have something in your cache before crossing the start. Poll your LDF’s on their favorites. There must be something to all this: I googled mantra marathon and found over 50 pages on the subject. A favorite of mine: Just dig in.
Respect the power of your superstitions. Enough said.
Plan for the post race. Marathon finish lines are madness. After 26.2 miles, cognitive skills are not at their sharpest. We heed Helene’s advice and instruct our families to meet us at the XYZ family waiting area.
Your emotions may overflow at the finish line. This was big! Take a week off of running. Wear your race shirt. Think of yourself as a marathon runner.