knowing what works, and the right head space

chicago went well. and in thinking about it, most of the races i’ve had this summer/fall have been PR’s. there are a lot of reasons for this

  • consistent hard training/not missing runs
  • weight loss
  • healthier lifestyle/not drinking
  • strength training
  • attitude about racing

i think learning where my head needs to be for a race has been really important, and i’m trying to keep this in the forefront of my mind as the days tick down to the new york marathon. i think it’s important for me to have a healthy respect/fear of the marathon distance, but not over analyze a race before i’m in it. i need to really be in the moment, and present when i’m racing, or i blow it.

for me- this means (and i know this is opposite of what a lot of people do/recommend doing in training)

  • have an a/b/c ‘race pace’. this works better for me than an a/b/c goal. because if i’m running and thinking only of my goal time, i can’t be in the race minute to minute- and that’s where the work is.
  • don’t memorize the race course. i didn’t really have any sense of the chicago course, so i only really knew how much more there was to go when i passed a mile marker. something about this helped me stay super present, and not feel like i should be feeling x/y/z at this part of the course
  • remain positive. if my head goes to a dark place, it’s over. and it can happen for me really fast. during the chicago marathon, somewhere around mile 18 a woman pushed me because i’d crossed in front of her. i was really startled, and upset! i just shook my head and ran on rather than getting into it with her. that’s how she was choosing to run her race, and i couldn’t let it dictate mine. i’ve done races in dark headspaces, and they’re miserable

what also worked for chicago

  • i drank a gallon of water every day five days before the event, and i don’t know if this worked, but i absolutely never felt dehydrated during the race. i probably stopped for water every 5k
  • i let myself geek out. i took all the dumb corny photos at the expo, and race morning. i tried on my race outfit, number and all, the night before. and let myself be ‘that guy’ whose super excited and nervous and not at all cool.
  • i ate a small but rice based meal the night before

i am no authority. but this seems to be working for me. and i want to continue to train hard and to feel proud of myself. i feel like this is only the beginning of some very good racing years ahead of me, and i’ve never worked so hard for myself.



  1. Oooh, thank you for sharing your race prep and tips!! I’ve said before how I become obsessed with the race and I like your tip of being present and focusing on pace instead of goal time!! Love that!! I also love the positive thinking. I tend to allow negativity overtake positivity and that’s something I’ve focused on with this training cycle–mental strength.

    Totally gonna use your water increase intake too!! And I *always* geek out for races, lol!!! Great post!! Thanks again for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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