Well, I crossed the finish line on Sunday, completing my fourth marathon. You forget how hard a marathon is until you are running it and somehow right after you decide you want to sign up again. Masochist?
I don’t think I ever had a plan during a marathon. I am usually a “wing it” type of person but I devised a structure as I was running and I think all my seven years of experience helped me a lot during the Chicago marathon.
- When I spotted a water stop ahead I ate a Honey Stinger chew. I started off with a cherry blossom flavor. I was nervous about holding them the entire time but it really didn’t bother me. I would pop one in my mouth and once I got to the Gatorade I would swig a cup and then take a cup of water and sip a bit and then pour the majority over my head. It got hot and I needed to stay cool. This helped break up the marathon in 1.5 mile intervals as well as helped with muscle cramps. Even if I didn’t think I needed hydration or energy, I ate and drank anyways. You need to make sure you fuel before you think you need fuel. By then it is too late to play catch up. At mile 12 when I saw my boyfriend I switched out flavors for cherry cola.
- If you are in Chicago or any race with moments of lots of spectators turn your headphones off. Enjoy the atmosphere. You will need that music when the crowds die down.
- Clip your toenails a week before the race. You will thank me.
- Take an ice bath after the Marathon. I was surprisingly not as sore as I thought I would be after the marathon. I am not sure if the ice bath helped but I like to believe I didn’t dunk my legs into ice infested water for no reason.
- Drink water the day before and reserve your legs. I probably walked too much all over the city and didn’t hydrate enough. I walked up to the start line feeling already dehydrated.
- During training I split up my longer week day runs. I think this hurt me. My body was more use to running 4 mile intervals rather than long distance. Next time around I am waking up early and getting all the miles in or I am going to run after work. I know this was my major downfall.
- Shed the pounds. My other three marathons I was about the same weight except my last marathon in 2015 I was 10 pounds heavier. I walked up to the start line weighing 135 pounds. I think if I cut 5 more pounds that would have helped. The lighter, the better. I ultimately wish I shed the weight but then build some more muscles in the legs.
- Put your name on your shirt. I don’t care how silly it looks but you will need that extra motivation when spectators are cheering your name.
- Lather on the Fast Time Relief or Icy hot on inflamed knees during training and days prior to the marathon.
- Don’t sweat the small things, just enjoy your race. My watch did not work. My GPS had my pace at 20 mph at points and had me one mile more than I was currently running. I decided to just focus on my time I was on the course and the mile markers to judge my pace.
- Have someone at the half way mark with a bag of essentials. I had chap stick, Fast Time Relief, energy chews, rubber bands, Vaseline for chaffing, ibuprofen, extra headphones and my extra running watch.
- I usually wore my flip belt during training but for the marathon I wanted to be as light as possible. All I had was my phone attached to my arm and I held my energy chews. I promise you won’t want the extra weight.
I got up around 4 that morning to down a couple cups of coffee and eat my breakfast. Coffee gets things going, if you know what I mean. 😉 You don’t want to go during the race. Go to the bathroom, eat your breakfast, put your last minute tunes on on your playlist and get your mind and body ready to travel 26.2 miles. I left the hotel around 6:30 and walked a mile to the corral. My boyfriend kept me company as I waited till it was almost my turn to cross the start line at 8:35. I didn’t PR but I am going to attempt to go back next year to claim my PR that I know I can achieve.
I hope my tips helped and if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Crossing the finish line. #runner #chicagomarathon #marathontraining