Let me start off saying that this is what worked for me. It may work for others or it may not. I know when I was training I Googled just about everything I was doing to see if it helped other runners.
When I signed up for a fall marathon I had a goal, run under 4 hours. It was no secret I was trying to do that both times I ran the Pig. After finishing well over 4 hours both times I knew I needed a flat race to achieve my goal. I feel like I am a decent hill runner, which is totally a thing, but come the end of the race my legs were toast.
Once I finished the IMM at 3:54 I knew I did some different things this training cycle that were beneficial. I wanted to share them to help other people.
* Train slower. During the training for my first two marathons I would run with the 3:45 group. Most of the time we would run out long runs faster than MP (marathon pace). I’m fairly sure this lead to fatigue before the race.
*Train alone. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy but I gained a lot of mental toughness. I learned to stick it out when that voice was telling me to quit. I was running this race alone so training alone made sense.
*Get a sports massage. My biggest fear was having my calf muscles cramp up on me for the third time. I found a great masseuse who specializes in athletes and runners. He did more of a stretching type massage. Not only did it help my muscles, it also calmed my pre-race anxiety. I got a massage 5 days before the race. I made sure to drink plenty of water and ran before the race.
*Take a couple hot yoga classes. It was nice to stretch out those muscles. I was going 2-3 times a week the month leading up to the race. I really love the benefits of yoga.
*Carry your own water. This was probably the smartest thing I did for this race. I didn’t have to wait for a water stop to take my GU. I was taking one every 45 minutes. I never hit the wall and I credit that to being well hydrated and fueled. I picked up a FuelBelt handheld water bottle from TJ Maxx for $5. I had an old FuelBelt hydration belt that came with 4 water bottles that fit the handheld pouch. I filled them up and had Andy keep them for me. I would swap the bottles out when I saw him. It was great! Also, I filled the bottles with Smart Water so I had plenty of electrolytes.
I also want to add that going into this race with a clear mind helped me. I had that time goal in the back of my head but I wasn’t focusing on it. I wanted to run smart, and that meant running the whole thing without wanting to give up.
What tips can you share that helped you in a race?