Wednesday, June 17, 2009

RACE DAY: Completing a Marathon: IV (B)

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Steve Prefontaine, American running legend

CM SEAL Team blogger: Tim Grizzell

Marathon race day is a big deal. You have prepared for many weeks/months to reach this point. If you are a first-timer, you are probably wondering about the unknown. If you are an experienced marathoner, you are probably hopeful that you can post a personal best and that you do not have any injuries. Regardless of what category you fall in, none of you slept well the night before (at least the majority of you). Anxiety fills the room you sleep in. All your thoughts the night before are about the race and you worry that you will sleep through the alarm.

Mental aspect aside, it is very important that you prepare yourself properly the day of the race. A lot of marathons begin in the early morning (for good reason) and the temperatures can be quite low. Therefore, you will want to layer some clothes over your base running outfit. Some marathon participants even start shedding external layers in the early miles of the race (i.e., throwing these clothes off to the side of the road). Most marathons donate these clothes to a great cause. Nevertheless, the purpose of layering these clothes is to ensure that your body stays warm prior to the race starting.

A big challenge in the race will be getting all of your muscles warmed up prior to starting the event. If you do not, you risk injury. I have seen a lot of runners in the first five miles of a marathon injure themselves by pulling a muscle or straining a tendon. More than likely, this is the result of not warming up properly before the start of the race. The last thing you want is to have a “DNF (Did Not Finish)” next to your name after all of that hard training you put in leading up to the marathon.

Another factor to consider is what type of fuel to put in your body before and during the marathon. You need to put something in your belly before you start. A light pancake breakfast is a great to start off your morning. For my wife, it is a power bar and banana. Secondly, if you have trained with one fuel during long runs, stick with it. For example, if you train with Jelly Belly sport beans, you might have to pack them during the race. Things to think about!

The gun has gone off and you are running. Remember – you want to run a negative split (i.e., your second half marathon is faster than the first half marathon). Be careful at the beginning. Assuming you are not stuck in “traffic,” it is easy to run some of the early miles 30 seconds to a minute faster than your body can handle. In the late stages of the race, this will catch up with you and most likely, you will pay for this. You want to conserve enough energy to get through the tough section of the race – miles 21 to 25. This is the section where you start to see runners digging deep. Anyone can run the last 1.2 miles. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Regarding aid stations and whether you walk or run through them, do what is most comfortable. I personally walk long enough to drink what is in my cup and then start running again. If I try to run through them, I invariably end up spilling gatorade all over myself.

Although I covered a lot, I am sure there are questions. Please send them my way.

Fired up!


One final note: I will be back sometime in July. I have lot to do right now. As some of you know, I am starting a running apparel company. Official launch date is August 31, 2009. T minus 75 days!


Anonymous said...

Do you know of good scuba booties to use for running along the shoreline?

Tim Grizzell said...


I do not know of any good scuba booties to use for this application. I would suggest using running shoes or go barefoot. Even if you are alternating some running and swimming (with fins), I am sure you can find some fins that will fit over running shoes.

Stay Fired Up,