CIM Race Recap 2018

12 months ago, I went on my first very uncomfortable 1 mile run after giving birth.  Yesterday, I ran my fastest marathon ever 26.2 miles at 7:20 pace. I finally breakthrough my old PR which was set almost 4 years ago. It was a fight down to the last second of the race.

It was a stressful but pretty successful training cycle. In the 3 months leading up to the race, my husband started a new job/career, my son had surgery, and my job was very busy. I was also in PT for 2 separate injuries throughout my training. 5 weeks before the marathon I ran a 1:27:26 half marathon PR which boosted by confidence.

Morning of the race:

For the first time ever, I had a lot of worry about a potential DNF. I had been in PT for several months after being diagnosed with a torn labrum. I also have ongoing hamstring issues. After every race in my build up, I had appts with both PT and ART therapists. Both of my doctor’s knew I was running and supported it 100%. However, this was my first time racing a marathon in over 2 years, and it seemed like my body just didn’t hold up like it used to.

I had a smart game plan for pacing. I wanted to be conservative. My A goal was 3:07 (7:07 per mile) and I was going to go out in a 1:34:40 (7:14 per mile) to try to negative split!

I lined up right in front of the 3:20 pacer, and I planned to go out conservatively

Mile 1- 7:22

This was right around where I wanted to start. The first mile is very downhill. People were blowing by me left and right. It was not hard to hold back this mile because I wasn’t feeling it.

Mile 2- 7:27

 I felt like I was going faster than 7:27 pace. It didn’t really feel smooth. I tried not to overthink it since I was still warming up my body

Mile 3- 7:08

Mile 4- 7:12

Mile 5- 7:17

I took my first Gel here. I felt like I was working harder than I anticipated for the paces I was running. I felt okay, but I was really hoping the first 5 miles going out conservatively would feel a lot easier.

Mile 6- 7:14

Mile 7- 7:20

A guy came up from behind and started chatting with me. I didn’t really feel like talking, but I thought it would take my mind off how ‘off’ I was feeling.

He was making the pace look effortless.

Then he shared some soul crushing information with me:

“I didn’t even train”

“I am injured”

Suddenly, my mood went from bad to worse.

Turned out his PR was 3:19 but despite not training AND being injured he was still hoping for a PR today.

My head exploded.

A flood of negative emotions came over me. “Why is running so much harder for me than everyone else?” “why do I have to work so hard to only marginally improve?”. I almost started crying thinking about how ‘unfair’ it was as he continued to run just ahead of me with strong form without even training.

I trained my ass off for 7 months straight and I was fighting for the paces he was running effortlessly.

Mile 8- 7:13

I could still see the guy who ‘didn’t train’ in the distance. I tried to zone it out, but anger was building up inside me. I was angry because running is really HARD for me. I was angry because the race was already feeling hard.

Mile 9- 7:12

The anger was now fueling my fire. I really didn’t care how I felt. I was 100% confident I could PR today. I did NOT care how I felt or how miserable it would be. It was GOING to happen. I knew what I was capable of. I started blocking out all the stuff around me.

Mile 10- 6:55

Mile 11- 6:59

Mile 12- 6:59

Mile 13- 7:04

Half Way – 1:34:39

I came through the half feeling no better and no worse than I did at mile 5. Things were never feeling smooth during any point of the race, but I felt confident I could continue to run 7:20-7:10 pace for the next half. I knew I was capable of it.

Mile 14- 7:00

Mile 15- 7:12

During the climb, my hamstring started tugging. I tried to change my gait and reach down to massage it. I almost tripped a few times as I was adjusting into a new stride. I realized I was slightly limping, but I was glad I could at least continue.

Mile 16- 7:08

 

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Mile 17- 7:06

The thirst was starting to set in. I was taking 2 cups of water and/or nuun at EVERY single stop since the beginning. I don’t know why it suddenly felt like I hadn’t take in anything.

Mile 18- 7:13

Mie 19- 7:13

Waves of nausea started. I was drinking A LOT, but I knew the water was not getting absorbed into my stomach fast enough. The sloshing around of water was making me feel sick. I had to work up the courage to take another gel. I could only take a little and gagged as I took it.

Mile 20- 7:19

I had hit the EXACT same 13.1 and 20 mile splits during my PR marathon race. I realize I needed to stay tough and buckle down if I was going to get a PR today. For 4 years, I had fantasied about being able to ‘redo’ the last 10k of my marathon PR race. Now that I was in the moment, I felt like I was living my nightmare HAHA.

 

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Mile 21- 7:33

My hamstring was throbbing. I felt like I was limping while running. Thirst was insane.

Mile 22- 7:40

4 miles never felt so long in my life.

Mile 23- 7:41

Mile 24- 7:48

My gait was really impacting my pace. Since my left hamstring was hurting, I was running with more weight in my left leg, a few times I thought my left leg was going to give out.

Mile 25- 7:51

 I knew if I didn’t continue to run at exactly this same pace, I would not PR. I was fighting hard. I almost fell as my legs were nearly buckling underneath me as a tried to surge

Mile 26- 7:55

I couldn’t see the finish line as I looked down at my watch and saw 3:10 something when mile 26 clicked. I seriously did not know if I could make it 400 more meters without my leg giving out.

Last .4 my garmin recorded was 8:30 pace.

Finish- 3:13:26

 

 

 

The medical volunteers must have seen my wobbly legs and grabbed me immediately and wouldn’t let me go for a few min. I felt like someone took a sledge hammer to my pelvis. My calfs and foot on the left side where I had been compensating for my hamstring pain started cramping uncontrollably like a charlie horse. For about an hour after the race my calfs and feet were cramping so bad.

Yesterday was not a day where the ‘stars align’. Some days you feel amazing and unstoppable. Some days you feel mediocre and things head south. I am overall extremely happy to be walking away with a marathon PR. It is a really big deal for me to finally prove I can do it especially after several failed attempts over the years. I don’t know when the next one will be. I am hoping for a fast half PR at Grandma’s in June. I will be enjoying some time off for the next few weeks. Hoping to ramp into more serious half marathon training in Feb 2019.

Marathon History

2013:

1st- 4:09- 9:30 pace

2nd- 3:47- 8:40 pace

3rd- 3:45- 8:38 pace

4th- 3:43- 8:34 pace

2014:

5th- 3:27- 7:55 pace *First BQ

6th- 3:31- 8:02 pace *BQ

7th- ULTRA 50k in 4:53

8th- 3:26- 7:55 per mile *BQ

2015:

9th- 3:19- 7:40 per mile *BQ

10th- 3:20- 7:40 per mile *BQ

11th- 3:14 – 7:26 per mile *BQ

12th- 3:24- 7:47 per mile *BQ

2016

13th- 3:23- 7:45 per mile *BQ

14th- 3:26- 7:53 per mile *BQ

15th- 3:28- 7:58 per mile *BQ

16th- 3:26- 7:55 per mile* BQ

2018

17th- 3:42- 8:30 per mile

18th – 3:13- 7:20 per mile *BQ

Interval & Speed Workout Tips

An interval workout for me is always can I hold my attitude of the workout for the workout. You know what the workout is but you just need to have the mindset that “I got this, I am completely capable of this workout”. For me it takes a lot of mental preparation for these workouts! It is just how I am! I always get nervous and I always tend to surprise myself. An interval workout is so much mental and physical stress just like a race! The more we can mimic moments in the race when the pace starts to feel difficult during our training runs, the better we are to adapt to it and know what to do in the situation mentally and physically. We keep ourselves from mentally over stressing and in return we are able to keep our running performance progressing forward through out the workout to get the result we want!!

1- Keep it EASY the day(s) before

The day before an interval workout I take as a nice and easy recovery rest or easy run day! I am always thinking about my interval workout the next day during this workout!! I remind myself to take it easy because I know how hard tomorrow’s workout is going to be. I start to visualize where I am going to do my interval workout and how I am going to perform at my best for it! I am always thinking ahead!

2. Warm up + Add Strides!

For my interval workout, I typically get a 2 mile warm up in with 4X10-15 second strides with light stretching! During my warm up I get excited for the workout and start to visualize myself in the workout and how I am going to execute it! I remind myself to stay relaxed through my upper body, stay calm and to just do my best!

3. First Rep in control

I run my first interval nice and smooth! I am cruising along at a fast pace but a pace that I can hold for over the length of the interval. Like during a 4X1 Miles repeats workout, the first 1 mile repeat I typically run the pace that I could at least run another lap at that pace. Then push the pace slightly and try to finish your last interval the fastest like I am racing towards the finish line!

4. Stay Focused EACH REP!

The 2nd to last interval is always the hardest! It is like the last 1/3 of a race! I always remind myself when it starts to be tough, that I am almost done with the workout. I then use that mindset going into my last interval to be able to push the pace and finish fast and strong!

5. BELIEVE in yourself when it gets hard

Believe in yourself and remember that you are doing this for you. You are pursing your
dreams and each great workout goes one more step closer to what you want most in life & running. Always think to the bigger picture for your running and where this workout is getting you closer to. Let it be your runspiration!
“It’s not just a workout, it’s a dream”

The best things in life make us happy. There is nothing better than crushing a workout and knowing how much better you are getting at running & improving at something you truly care about. We don’t just set goals, we crush PRs and workouts week after week to become stronger, but we do it to become happier
Never forget why you do it!

6 Tips for Running Your Best 5k

There is so much focus on the marathon and half marathon for training and pacing. The shorter distances are just as challenging to navigate! In college, many athletes focus on the 5k and 10k events. Some of our coach’s experience is working specifically with college athletes at these shorter distance events, and we want to share some of their advice with you!

1- GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET!

If you just came off marathon or half marathon training, this is going to be a big change of gears. Instead of racing over 1.5-5+ hours, you will be racing for less than 30 min. Racing a 5k will be a more aggressive. Do you think tempo runs are hard? We want you pushing much harder than that! You won’t be spending much time in the comfort zone! The best part is that it is over quickly. Prepare yourself mentally for the differences! In a marathon, we want you to be comfortable for the majority of the race. In a 5k, you are going to be uncomfortable for the majority of the race. Do not be afraid if you start to feel tired half way through. You should really have to fight the final mile.

 

2- DO NOT SKIP THE WARM UP!

Ever arrive at a race and see some runners running BEFORE the race even starts? We want that person to be you!

Because the race is done at a much more aggressive pace than a marathon or half marathon, the warm up becomes even more important than every before! Remember- just a light 5-10 min warm up at 2-3 min per mile slower than goal race pace can help your body.

Warming up prepares your body for the hard work ahead and helps prevent injury. You warm up before a workout, so let’s make sure you do it before your race! You will not tire yourself out. Your body needs a chance to warm up for the event ahead. We recommend starting your warm up gradually with dynamic stretching and walking the move into light jogging.

3-  INCORPORATE STRIDES

After your warm up or on the days leading up to your race, incorporating strides helps to wake up your muscles and zone into a faster pace. 4x 20 seconds FAST with a full 90 seconds walk or standing rest between! You can read more about how to incorporate strides and their benefits here

4-PUT A SPEED LIMIT ON YOUR FIRST 800 METERS!

You have heard it a million times: Don’t go out too fast. It’s still important in the short distance races! Use your watch. Keep yourself in check especially those first 2-4 min of the race.

What would be the time you could run 1 mile as fast as you can in? You can add 30 seconds per mile to that time and that can be your speed limit! It’s a good rule of thumb. Each athlete is different. You do NOT want to go out too fast.

5- PACE EVENLY 

The first 4-8 min of the race, most athletes push TOO HARD. Then, during the middle of the race, they can sometimes slide back into our comfort zone.

This is NOT what you want to do. We want you to STAY FOCUSED in the mile you are in and pace evenly.

After 1 mile- Get uncomfortable and sit in the discomfort. Maintain the energy. Do NOT slide back into your comfort zone. This is NOT a tempo run! This is a race!  At some point during the second half of the race you HAVE TO BE FEARLESS and lay it all out there 🙌🏻You can do it!

6- FINISH STRONG & LAY IT ALL OUT THERE

With 800 meters to go, you should be deep in the pain cave of the race. Instead of focusing on your suffering: FIND PEOPLE TO PASS! This is your time to push! Do NOT look at your watch- it’s a waste of energy: focus all your energy on moving forward as FAST as possible. Keep your mind focused on the task. Keep deep and finish with nothing left! YOU DID IT

Optimize your Offseason

1- REST

After a huge training cycle, regardless of how you are feeling, it is important to take time off & allow your body to rest. Rest is critical for recovery not only from the race itself but from the weeks & months of hard effort training.  Sometimes athletes bounce back into things too quickly because they feel good or because the race didn’t go as planned. This often feels okay in the moment, but it can backfire in the upcoming months. We know it is hard to rest and take time off, but it is critical.

Elite marathoners  take a FULL MONTH OFF after a marathon regardless of race result. It is important to take these breaks to heal both mentally & physically. Absence makes the heart grow founder is true in distance running.

Regardless of how you feel mentally, physically or emotionally the week or 2 after the race, it is important to rest!!

 

2- PLAN AHEAD

The marathon & half marathons distances can take weeks to recover from. We want to make sure that we allow both enough time for recovery AND building back for our next race. Most marathon and half marathon training cycles take between 4-6 months. We want to give your body at least 1 month of rest between training cycles. This would leave a time frame for your next goal race to be 5-7 months out at the EARLIEST!

If you have done the same distance race back-to-back-to-back-to-back multiple seasons in a row, it might be nice to consider a break from that distance for an additional 4-6 months to focus on another event.

Remember: You cannot continue to capitalize on previous training cycles and continue to see improvement. period. 

 

3- BUILDING YOUR FOUNDATATION

CHECK YOUR MENTAL GAME! Where are you at? What are areas you can improve on in the upcoming year? What were things that got you down during your last training cycle? How can we work during the off season to make things your strong points!

Sometimes in the middle of our training cycles our good habits can start to break and we forget some of the most important foundational part of running

  • keeping easy days easy
  • strength training
  • proper nutrition
  • PT (physical therapy) if needed for areas of weaknesses that flared up
  • Yoga/stretching/mobility
  • sleep routine

Setting yourself up for success by focusing on the little things can go a long way

4- BUILD YOUR GAME PLAN

RESULTS TAKE TIME! Try to enjoy the journey. Falling in love with the little things along the way. If you are looking for a quick fix or the ways to get faster NOW, we might suggest another sport 😉 Distance running takes time!

Find a training plan, coach or develop your own plan and stick with it! It is important to trust the process and find something that is going to challenge you to take your training to the next level

What sort of comeback stories do you have? We would love to hear from you! For more questions you can e-mail irun4prs@gmail.com

 

Treadmill vs Outside Running

✨Treadmill VS outdoor running ✨

The days are getting shorter & the temperatures are dropping as we head into winter. A common question runners have: is treadmill running the same as outdoor running?

While we think the treadmill is a great tool for training, outdoor training is usually the best bet if the conditions are safe!

Benefits of treadmill running

✅ Set speed to assure you are able to pace correctly:

Pacing is one of the most important parts about running. Being able to train in the correct zones for easy days can maximize your recovery. It is also a great tool to ensure you are staying in the right paces for workout days. Instead of surging to find the pace, it sets it for you.

✅ safe environment

Icy roads? Dark and dangerous neighborhood? -40 degree windchill? The treadmill can be a great option in these conditions! Before the treadmill, what did runners do? Skip runs! The treadmill provides an outlet to get the mileage in regardless of the environment outside!

✅ Can simulate hills

Living in a flat environment can be challenging to find hills. Many of our Florida or Minnesota athletes struggle with finding large enough hills for workouts and hill simulations. The treadmill incline can provide this to our athlete.

✅ Can simulate hotter environments

If you are training for a race in a warmer climate and you live in a freezing state the treadmill can help you simulate temperatures that are close to 60-70 degrees depending on the temperature of the gym or your basement 🙂

DOWNFALLS OF TREADMILL RUNNING:

❌ Does not simulate the exact stride & muscles engagement as outdoor running.

The treadmills belt actually pulls your legs back with every stride. This causes hamstrings to do less work on the treadmill. Translate this muscle memory back to the road and sometimes tight hamstrings or injuries on back side pop up. We want to make sure the body does not get too accustomed to this type of running. Some suggestions to mitigate this are using a 1-2% incline on the treadmill and continuing with strength training like deadlifts and squats.

❌ Does not provide exposure to outside elements.

WIND will slow you down! SUN will have effects on you! When you train in a controlled environment you are limiting your exposure to what you will face on race day. Many athletes and coaches believe you should train in the environments you race in. You want to have less added stress and unknowns on race day as possible. Knowing you were able to combat the elements in training can be a huge confidence booster in non-perfect race day conditions.

❌ Doesn’t allow you to learn how set your own pace outside.

Many runners struggle with pacing. It is by far one of the hardest parts of running to learn. Treadmill limits opportunities to pace yourself outside therefore often prolonging the process of becoming a good pacer. Pacing is important! Trying to get workouts in outside is important because you will need to learn how to pace on race day!

❌ Can decrease confidence

We hear almost daily, “but I did the workout on the treadmill. I am not sure I can replicate it outside” or after nailing a workout they preface it with “but I did it on the treadmill”. Believing in yourself is one of the most important parts of running. Often runners who perform key workouts on the treadmill become unsure they can replicate it outside. Running outside tends to build more confidence!

5 Tapering Tips!

Ahhhh, the long awaited TAPER!!! This is music to any athlete’s ears as it usually signifies a decrease in workload. However, sometimes taper can go wrong as athletes mistake this phase of training to be insignificant or get too relaxed as they take it to mean no more work needs to be done!

Taper is actually one of the most important point in a training cycle and what you do during those few weeks can really help or hinder your race day results! So here are a few tips to help you get through successfully:

1- You still have to follow the plan

This might seem obvious, but these taper miles are just as important as the peak week training. Yes, there will be fewer of them, but it is important that you keep your legs moving to promote circulation, which enhances the recovery process. You CAN over-taper, so make sure you are still running and keeping up the the plan!

 

2- Find your true marathon pace

We aren’t building much fitness at this point. The key here during the taper is to train your body exactly what marathon pace feels like so you don’t have to be a slave to your watch on race day. The MP serves an important purpose. Proper pacing leads to best results on race day. If you go too fast on your MP workouts, you are likely to make that same mistake on race day. So be in control!

3- Expect to feel terrible at some point

The first week or two of taper, you might feel terrible!!! Why? Because after MONTHS of hard work, you are finally letting your body rest and recover and that takes a TON of energy! Your body is releasing all sorts of chemicals and hormones to promote recovery. This may leave you feeling extra tired or feel like your legs are heavy. Don’t worry. Totally normal. It will start to feel better as race day approaches.

4- Don’t leave your race in a practice run

Once you start getting your legs back, you are going to feel amazing. Runs will feel effortless. At this point, you will probably be doing more marathon specific work or goal pace work. Resist the urge to try and PR during these runs — there is NO MORE fitness to be gained at this point. SAVE IT for race day!!! Don’t leave your race in practice!!!

5- Food fuels your body

Watch what you EAT and start fueling for race day early!! It’s common sense, but you need to really dial into your nutrition – start adding those complex carbs so that your muscles can start effectively storing it as glycogen! Some great examples include sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grains, and etc! You cannot effectively carbo load for a marathon in 1-2 days! You’ve gotta give your body some time! If done right, carbo loading can enhance your endurance by 20% on race day! –

Why Runners need to strength train- 5 reasons

Injury Prevention

No matter what sport you are involved in your number one goal should be to do activities that will make you better at that sport. For example, if you want to be a better basketball player than you should probably practice shooting baskets and dribbling.

If you want to be a better runner the MOST important “running specific” activity you can do is of course RUNNING! Running consistently and injury free is very important if you want to improve. That is just one HUGE benefit of strength training.

If you add just two days per week of “running specific” strength training into your routine your chances of getting injured are greatly reduced. It is important to note that you really want to do strength moves that are specific to running.

For example, focusing on joint mobility exercises and moves that mimic your arm motion with running. General strength can help, but running specific strength training is even better! When you go beyond your physical abilities and become injured, it will set you back in your running more than if you took a little extra time to do some strength training to prevent injury. All too often runners undertake a strength training program only when forced to do so in rehabilitation. Once rehabilitated, they begin to run at their regular speed and ignore the strength training. In time, they begin to feel so good from development of their aerobic abilities, they push themselves to go farther or faster, only to once again get injured. Stop the cycle!

Weight Loss

Strength training builds lean muscle mass. Muscle burns fat (calories) more efficiently than fat does. By adding 2 days of strength training per week you can significantly increase your muscle mass and thus help your body more efficiently burn calories! Translation: weight loss!
“Fat burns almost nothing at rest”, says exercise physiologist Pete McCall, “whereas muscle uses oxygen. If you increase lean muscle mass, you’ll increase the body’s ability to use oxygen and burn more calories.”

Your body typically uses about 4.5 to 7 calories per pound of muscle every day. If a 160-pound runner with 20 percent body fat increases his muscle mass and lowers his body fat to 15 percent, he’ll burn an extra 36 to 56 calories a day at rest—simply by adding muscle.

Running Economy (Efficiency)

Lifting weights also makes you more economical (or “efficient”). This can translate into the “real feel” of a run — does it feel easy and smooth or awkward and hard? The more efficient you are, the less you have to “work”, and you can run faster for longer periods of time. While other factors such as running volume can contribute to your running economy and efficiency, strength training has a direct impact. Consistent running specific strength training improves neuromuscular coordination, which means better running economy becomes more ingrained and more natural over time. Strength training has been shown to improve a trained runner’s economy by
as much as 8%.

Self Esteem

There’s no question that strength training has a ton of great physical benefits, but the mental benefits are just as, if not more, important. Strength training helps you achieve the most drastic and measurable results, helping to achieve improved body image, self-perception and sense of accomplishment.
You’ll be proud of your progress AND you’ll impress your friends. Double score! It also increases norepinephrine, which can boost your brain’s ability to cope with stress. Feeling stressed? Start squatting!

Core Strength

A strong core helps runners with their stability, balance, posture and overall control. Overall, core strength training reinforces the way that your pelvis, abs, hips and lower back work together. When you are outside running up and down hills or even on flat terrain your quadricep and hamstring muscles will trade off with which muscle group are working harder. Meaning while your hamstrings work harder your quadriceps get a break and vice versa. But you do you know what always stays
engaged during your entire run? Your core! So, the stronger you can make your core the better your running posture and efficiency will be. Just two days per week of running specific strength and core exercises can greatly improve your core strength. We design our programs to concentrate on running specific and core related moves.

5 Tips For Your Best Marathon

Running a marathon is such an amazing challenge! It is not just running those 26.2 miles. It is a 24/7 commitment to a part of your life that will be forever changed as a person and a runner. After weeks upon weeks of training & the sacrifices you have made day in and day out to get prepared to race it, you are finally coming into the week before your race. You think back months ago when you decided to make the commitment. Race day is quickly approaching and the race day nerves are starting to kick in. You may be thinking to yourself, “wow I am actually going to be running a marathon this weekend. This is actually happening.”

 

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Written by Coach Meghan Roth

Here are our 5 tips to make this marathon experience great!

1. TAPER: Sleep, Nutrition & Training

Tapered training is so important. The week before your marathon your training should be 50-60% of your 100% peak week of training! At the beginning of the week, we will typically do a shorten interval run to work in a little speed without fatiguing my body to keep my legs fresh. The rest of the week consists of easy short recovery runs to make sure I am more than rested & ready to run on race day.

Nutrition is key! The week of the race, keep your diet clean and healthy! Don’t try anything new or overindulge in junk. Coach Meghan Roth 2:47 marathoner reports cutting out all junk foods, “I make sure I am eating real whole foods that are nutrient dense to and feeding my body really good nutrition. The few days leading Into my race is my carb loading!! I love the few days before my race filling my nutrition with quinoa, white rice/sushi, cliff bars, sweet potatoes, pastas, etc. I reduce fiber from my nutrition along with healthy fats to make sure a bulk of my calories are coming from mostly carbs &  some protein without over indulging in calories!”

SLEEP is so important for this taper, especially the few days leading into the race.
Typically it is hard to get really good sleep the night before the race, so two nights before the race will be your most important night of sleep to make sure you are well rested for the race!

2. Spoil Yourself Race Week.

You made sacrifices to get to this start line over the past 6+ months, and now it is time to be completely selfish. Give yourself a whole week of trying to focus completely on myself and what I need before race day!! This doesn’t have to be big things, just the small details and making sure I have everything ready to go before the race. My favorite foods during the week and before the race, planning my schedule completely around rest  & recovery, race day outfit and supplements, painting my nails, really whatever makes you feel good!!

Just make sure you are taking extra care of myself that week, and make sure I give yourself everything you need to feel really good on race day!!

3. Race Weekend Expo.

Get lost in the excitement of the race! When you walk into the building, there is so much positive energy and excitement from others around the race weekend! It is a time to get yourself involved and have fun checking out the different vendors, motivational speakers and/or chatting with people around you! Every time I walk into the race expo, things become very real for me. It is typically the first time I really realized race day is almost here and I get overwhelmed with emotion. I start to wear my heart on a sleeve. Feel the energy, the emotion & use this to fuel you up. When times start to give tough during the race, this is the part that is so important to get you across
the finish line.

4. All About Pacing.

You have heard it time and time again, but honestly when it comes to a
marathon pacing is so important. It is a marathon not a sprint 🙂

Of course many of you pace yourself with a watch, so starting conservative & slower than your goal race pace will be important! You would rather finish fast and strong than crash at the end! Going out too fast can be absolutely terrible and can put a lot of extra time onto your race after working so hard through training and for the first 20 miles.

2:47 Marathoner Coach Meghan, “There have been races where I went out too fast & my legs have been so shot by mile 20, I don’t even know how I got to the end without crawling. I have also had races where they were paced extremely well and I felt great from almost the entire race.

The great thing with a marathon is that there are typically thousands of others running it with you! Marathons are so much better ran in a group- use these people to build you up. I highly recommend chatting with runners nearby and meeting a new friend! Runners are so friendly but sometimes too nervous to start a conversation.

As much as a marathon is your own personal goal, effort, and pace, it is not as fun if you run it alone! Try to find others you can run and pace with if possible.

5. BE PRESENT!

It is so important that you have a great experience and truly just love
every moment of the days leading up to the race, racing the race and celebrating when you finish! My #1 advice I will give you that has helped me so much with running my best marathons and loving every minute of the actual race is.. take one mile at a time! Sometimes with the marathon we can get overwhelmed in the starting 1/2 half of the race knowing that we will have however many miles to run! Focus on the mile you are on, stay in tune with your body and your pace and just enjoy it!!

There is no rush to get to the finish and you will have a much better experience if you stay focused on the race, not the finish!! Running a marathon is so mental and you have to stay connected mentally  & physically no matter what part of the race you are on!!
Trust your training and your pacing plan and completely consume yourself into the race that you have worked so hard for!!

Know that your race time will be there if it is meant to happen that day and no matter what happens, that you were able to enjoy every minute of it! Running a marathon is one of the first best possible decisions you have made! Now it is time to crush your marathon goal that you had set for yourself months ago.

 

Whether you are running your first marathon, racing for your BQ or next PR, racing to complete a new bucket list race, or whatever your marathon goal is, I hope you find these marathon tips helpful! I know how much these 5 tips have helped me become the runner and marathoner I am today, but it has helped me race some of my best running career races to this point! Running is so much more than running. Running a marathon is so much more than just another race. A marathon is a running experience we will never forget along our running journey. For your next marathon I am wishing
you to have the best possible race experience possible! I hope you enjoyed reading this article!
Happy Marathoning! Happy Running!

Pace bands, pacers, goal marathon pace? How to navigate race day pacing

Marathon season is quickly approaching. Once you reach the taper, typically 2-3 weeks out from race day, the ‘hay is in the barn’ for your marathon fitness.

The 2-3 weeks leading up to your race should have a new focus: Marathon Pace & race execution.

By now, there should be no surprises. You know your fitness. You know how training went. It’s time to develop a pacing strategy.

Should run with a pacer/pace group?

Before you commit to running with a pacer, know what you are getting yourself in for. ‘Pacers’ at races typically go out exactly on pace or slightly ahead of pace. Pacers are significantly faster than the goal pace they are pacing for. A pacer who is not experienced can easily botch the first mile by going out too fast. This can be problematic for athletes who have the goal to run exactly the pace of the pace group. Going out too hard ‘on accident’ even just one mile can have a significant negative impact on your race.

If your goal for the race is to run 8:15 pace, you absolutely do NOT want to run with an 8:00 pace group for the first mile. If your goal is to run 7:50 pace, the 8:00 pace group is a great starting point for you.

Pacers can be beneficial because they set the pace and give you an idea where you are on the course. You absolutely do not need to be running with a pacer to reach your goal.

Do not force the pace to have people to run with. If a race only has a 3:50 and a 4:00 pace group, but your goal is 3:55, you should start with the 4:00 pace group and go from there. Conservative start is advantageous in the marathon

What if your GPS loses signal?

(Philly, NYC, Chicago)

The Chicago & NYC marathon courses are run through major metropolitan areas. The large skyscrapers in downtown areas are notorious for sending GPS signals haywire. During the Chicago Marathon, many athlete reported their GPS clocking in 2-3 min per mile faster than their actual pace.

HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. Do NOT count on your GPS to be the source of truth. You might finish the race with 28+ miles on your watch due to incorrect readings and have a GPS map that looks something like this:

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Our solution:

Turn off “auto-lap” on your garmin and lap manually at the mile markers or go off elapsed time instead.  

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COMMIT MARATHON PACE TO MUSCLE MEMORY

So your goal is to run a 3:40 marathon? You need to know EXACTLY what 8:24 pace feels like. In the final weeks leading to your race, you should incorporate workouts that fine tune this muscle memory.

You want your body to know this pace so well that is becomes the natural ‘go to pace’ on race day. Marathon Pace workouts in the final weeks should not be too physically taxing, but they may require mental training.

Spend time focusing in on dialing into MP. You want to know exactly what it feels like on fresh legs. Especially the taper, it is CRITICAL that you hit GMP right on the correct pace. There is ZERO BENEFIT to doing MP workouts too fast. If you run too fast for MP during your training runs, you will make the same mistakes on race day. Proper pacing is ESSENTIAL to optimal performance. Feel free to obsessively look at your watch during these MP exercises if you are having a hard time pacing yourself. It is VERY important you learn this pace! Muscle memory we are building.

SHOULD YOU USE A PACE BAND?

Know yourself! Some athletes might benefit greatly from the use of pace bands and others could have negative impact on their race. Here is why:

Are you a numbers person? Do you obsess over pace, time, distance? Can you do math in your head? Do you judge yourself even if you are slightly off a prescribed pace?

If that sounds like you: no pace band needed.

You might benefit from writing down your elapsed time goal to be ‘on pace’ for your A goal at miles 5,10,20 & 25. Just as reference points, but there is no need to have a mile by mile pace band.

Are you the type of person who never does math in your head while running? Do you struggle with knowing where you are on the course? Do you not know what pace is associated with your A,B,C goals?

You might benefit from a pace band! This can give you an idea of where you are on the course. You never want to feel ‘lost on the course’ or have no reference point.

Essentially ask yourself, are you someone who already knows the paces/where you want to be or do you have no idea and don’t think about numbers or paces at all during a run?

They work amazing for some people. Other people don’t need them

Tips for Staying Positive During a Run

Running is hard. It is a challenge to always maintain a positive attitude when we are performing difficult tasks. Every person has faced their own pessimistic attitudes at some point in their life. Sometimes we get caught in a negative mind trap.

When we have a bad attitude, our performance will get hindered. Mind and body must work together to achieve our true potential. This happens best when we maintain a positive attitude.

Here are our tips to increase a positive mindset:

1- KEEP A JOURNAL

Social media is not a journal! Posting your run on instagram is NOT a run journal. In order for this to work: you need a private spot where you can be alone with your thoughts. Expressing how you feel on paper can give insights into your strengths and weaknesses.

Every day write down 5 positive things about your run. Even on the worst days, we can come up with something to be grateful for. Maybe you got to wear your favorite nike tank top. Maybe you saw a beautiful sunrise. Maybe you felt grateful that you were able to be running while your husband was at home in case the kids work up early. The little things you are grateful for add up to create your mindset.

This exercise can change your perspective on the world.

2- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A POSITIVE COMMUNITY

You are who you surround yourself with! Do NOT waste another min on negative or toxic people. There are communities all around that can uplift you and support you and your goals. Maybe it is a local running group or a friend you met at a race. Maybe it is an online community or a running coach. Seek out positive people who encourage you! A positive community cultivates a positive mindset.

Giving back to the community by volunteering at races or pacing a friend in a workout can help you build that community and positive network. Be change you want to see!

3- REDIRECT YOUR THOUGHTS

Everyone gets negative thoughts. Some people are better at redirecting these thoughts. During a workout, you might think, “Dang. This pace feels impossible. My legs are screaming. I am going to die”. Stop the negative chain reaction immediately. Notice when they start to arise and direct your thoughts to a time you overcame adversity.

Instead think, “I have done this before. Workouts are supposed to hurt. This hurts, but I am strong. I can do this. One mile at a time. It’s just 5 more min. You can do anything for 5 min. This is nothing. “

YOUR BRAIN IS HARDWIRED TO WANT TO PREVENT YOU FROM DOING HARD THINGS. This is a smart evolutionary trait we needed as cavemen. When food was scarce, it was important to conserve energy. Nowadays, these evolutionary traits, can sometimes stop us from achieving our goals.

4- FOCUS ON PERSONAL GROWTH

Do you ever feel like you are spinning your wheels? Doing the same thing every day? Maybe it is time for some change! Adding in new areas of your life where you can improve and grow can help you build confidence. Taking up yoga, starting a blog, reading a self help book, joining a local group, or mentoring someone are examples of personal development/growth. When we dive into new activities, we gain a new sense of self and learn more about how we operate.

Stretching outside running into other facets of our life can make us a better athlete. When we do new things, we realize a new perspective in life. Change is possible, exciting, and fun!

5- STOP COMPARING/STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

Do you ever find yourself following someone else’s journey to compare it to your own? Do you ever look at someone else’s success and wish you could have it? Social media is a highlight reel. It is very new to the human existence, and when we use it to compare, it can breakdown real human connections. Humans were not meant to compare their lives through screens. Posting photos of their lives for the world to see. We were meant to share our lives with others through 1-1 connections!

Next time you want to post a great workout on social media, I challenge you to share your feelings about the workout with a friend, coach, teammate and create that 1-1 connection. There are people who support you and want to see you shine! I know it sounds silly to share the details of your exciting workout with a friend or family or teammate, BUT a few years ago it seemed silly to post your workouts on social media. We need to get back to the human connection. Share your joy of the sport with others!