Selasa, 14 Mei 2013

Marathon Strategy.

Before the fall marathon season starts it’s time to develop your marathon strategy.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or 50th marathon; a well thought out race strategy will set you up for success. By strategy I mean an hour by hour, mile by mile plan to follow on marathon day. The strategy should include pace, fluid - food intake, footwear and apparel. A well-planed strategy will take away some race day stress and will stack the deck in your favor. Transportation to and from the race and a race weekend schedule will also help.
Gaining a sense of pace will help you from making the all too common mistake of going out too fast in the beginning of the marathon. Remember that most world records set at the marathon distance were set with "negative splits", that is, with a faster second half. Ideally, you want to pick a pace that you can run evenly throughout the marathon. If you slow up the second half, you have picked too fast a pace. If you negative split by a minute or two or run even, you will have most likely ran to your potential.
How to get a sense of pace? Run the last couple long runs on courses with marked miles. Keep track of the pace at each mile. There is a tendency to run too fast on training course with the miles marked the same phenomena takes place in a race. Get used to checking the mile times; this will help you from getting sucked up in the excitement. You will know what is, "too fast". Ignore the effortless feeling that comes in the early miles of the marathon. Being a few seconds ahead each mile is not like, "money in the bank". It is more like putting a leak in your fuel tank.
What pace? On marathon day you should be capable of running the race at a pace around 15 seconds per mile faster than your long run pace. Why? Because on race day you will be tapered and rested. This will be quite different than a long run at the end of a long week. Race day also has a bit of magic that allows for amazing things to happen. By magic I mean that head colds, nagging injuries or pains and other bothersome worries you may have during the days just before the event seem to disappear on marathon day.
A fueling strategy: 
The body functions best when well hydrated and fueled. In the days preceding the marathon, low fat, high carbohydrate diet, along with the taper, will top off your glycogen stores. Glycogen is the usable stored energy-producing product stored in your muscles. What you eat the days before the marathon should be tried and true foods you have eaten before the long runs. Nothing new.
Hydrate the day and night before your race with more than just water. Include fruit juices and replacement drinks. By hydrating only with water you may actually be flushing away minerals that you will need to perform your best. Race day food and fluid intake will be what works for you, that is, what you learned in training during your long runs. Before race weekend, find out what sport drink will be offered at the marathon and see if it agrees with you. This information is often available on the race web site.
You may eat a light breakfast such as a bagel or banana, but again, you will know this from the long run days. I personally can’t eat a thing for 4-6 hours before an event. I also have a problem with sport drinks so I stick to water during the race. The sport gels agree with me and I take one per hour during my long runs and marathon. Gels such as GU, Power Gel and Cliff Shot have taken over the place of sport bars for event use. Gels also have the minerals you find in sport drinks. Plan on how you will be carrying your gel. There are small waist pouches made specifically for holding gel. I personally pin the gel packs onto my waistband with safety pins. I then fold them over under the waistband to hold them from bouncing. Experiment during training runs.
The shoes you run the marathon in should have at least 100 miles on them and should have been worn in one or more of your long runs. I usually alternate between 3 or more pairs of shoes in my marathon training. 3 to 4 weeks out from the race I usually shelve the shoes that seem to be working the best, saving them for race day. This prevents the chance of anything happening that will force me to make a last minute shoe choice, this includes anything, from losing them to having the dog eat one.
Plan on all weather scenarios and make a plan for each. When traveling to the event, bring everything just in case. So often I see people buying weather specific clothing at marathon expos, things they have not tried in training.
Remember nothing new on race day. Keep everything for race day in your carry-on. Don’t risk lost luggage.
The List: 
Start to compile a list of all the things you might need on race day. Add to it whenever something comes up. Here is a list to get you started
  • Vaseline or anti-chafe products.
  • Alarm clock if you’re traveling.
  • Extra pins.
  • A reliable alarm clock.
  • Your own roll of toilet paper.
  • Race entry form: It contains directions, course map, time of start, pre and post race instructions.
  • A garbage bag to wear if it’s cold or wet. Punch a hole for your head in advance. You can throw it off once the race starts.
  • Your watch.
  • Hoes, socks, shorts, top, hat...
  • Gloves. A cheap cotton pair to throw off if it warms up and a good pair if it looks likes a winter day.
  • Bottled water and GU or sports bars if you use them.
  • Sunscreen Band-Aids (to prevent nipple chaffing).
  • Money (in case you forgot something) o Your race number.
  • Warm clothes for the finish.
  • Aspirin.
  • Camera and of course, toilet paper!
Remember, great things happen when all is well planed out. Disasters happen all by themselves!
For more marathon training tips and information click on Marathon Training found in the menu on the left.