Whether you’re ready or not, here it comes. On Sunday, 45,000 runners, walkers, and cyclists will take to the streets of Chicago to test the limits of the mind and body. If you’re reading this and you happen to be one of them, relish in the fact that you get to take it easy until then. But remember that come Sunday, we’re going to hit the ground running, and running fast. I plan on setting a PR, shooting for 3:10 which is also the Boston Marathon qualification time for my age group. My hope is that you all will also be gunning for PRs. Whether you’re battling injury or just flat out nervous, rest assured that we are all fighting similar battles. I just got back from a moderate 4 miles and my mind continues to play tricks with me. The past two races where I ended up sick and on the couch for the remainder of the day continues to flood my thoughts. At this point in the juncture, I would say majority of competitors begin getting the pre-race nerves which are never fun to deal with. The only piece of advice I can give you to deal with these is to not focus on the negative things that have happened in training, rather the positives. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but the fact is this: You trained, and you trained hard. If you didn’t train as hard as you wanted to, think of it this way…your legs are going to be more fresh than most. I try to take myself back to the Big Sur Marathon where I spent all of Friday until about 2:00 AM drinking in Napa/San Fransisco and still managed to polish off a 3:30ish on Sunday. These are the types of re-assuring thoughts you need to be having. As for preparation, here are some pointers I have aside from getting the negative thoughts out of your head:
1. Sleep – A lot
2. Eat good, quality whole foods (i.e. fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, protein) Try not to venture too far away from your normal diet, but at the same time make great effort to eat well.
3. Drink lots of fluids. Hydration is key…drinking alcohol two days before the race is NOT a good idea. Speaking from experience…not a good idea.
4. Have everything ready the night before.
5. Do not change anything from what you have done in prepping for long runs/during the runs. This means if you have not taken Gu gel during long runs, don’t take them now. If you haven’t had gatorade on long runs, don’t start now. You get the point.
6. Stretch throughout the week. With not running as much, your legs want to tighten up. Keep loose.
7. Reduce Mileage
8. Make sure you don’t go overboard with the carbo load. You’re going to feel a little fat going in to the race, but this is fine an expected. Typically, you gain around 1-2 lbs the week leading up to the marathon. BUT, make sure you don’t go crazy stuffing your face with pasta. Also, if you’re going to go for the traditional pre-night pasta meal, stick to basic wheat pasta and marinara. Stay away from cream sauces, etc.
Well, hopefully everyone is ready to go for this final week. Whether this is your first marathon, or you’re a seasoned veteran going on your 10th…it’s go time.
Rest! Stretch, light core work out optional.
4-5 miles depending on how your legs feel. Stretch.
This will be our last run before the marathon…finally! Take it easy on this run and go for about 30-40 minutes. Be sure to stretch after.
1-2 miles optional. I typically do a little warm up the day before nice and easy, but totally up to the runner.
26.2 miles…best of luck to everyone!