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.

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2 Comments

  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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