Marathon Week is finally here! Upon reflection, it’s hard to believe that the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than one week away. 17 weeks ago, we embarked on a journey which culminates this weekend.
Even if your goals have shifted throughout the season, you are on the verge of a great accomplishment. Through your dedication, perseverance and effort, that goal which seemed Impossible on Memorial Day morphed into the Improbable by Labor Day and now, reaching the goal is Inevitable!
Farmers have a saying – “The Hay is in the Barn” – an acknowledgment that nothing more needs to be done (or can be done) at this point in the season for your event. There is nothing you can do to improve your performance on race day. Trust your training to date and enjoy this last week before race day.
Less than 1% of the general population has completed a marathon. Be proud of your accomplishments. This week show your Marathon PRIDE:
P lan - have a plan for the race, and be sure to follow it.
R est - get plenty of rest every night this week.
I - I know my running type--generally runners fall into three types (even split runners, negative split runners, or positive split runners) -- know the type you are and plan your race strategy accordingly.
D rink - stay hydrated throughout the week, do not overdrink on Friday and Saturday. Your urine should be the color of pale lemonade.
E at - eat the right amount of protein and carbohydrates.
60 – 65% (up to 70% towards the end of this week) Carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta and cereals);
10 – 15% protein (lean red meats, poultry and legumes);
25 – 30% fats (staying away from trans fatty oils and fried foods).
Read the Participant’s Guide which was provided to you by the BOACM office. Review the procedures for race weekend, especially review the health and safety protocols for entry into the expo and race day corrals. Circumstances have changed this year and please stay up to date on any changes.
A day or two before your race – set out all the clothes you will wear on race day. Start with the clothes you will wear in the race. These should be clothes you have already worn on a long run. Go through a checklist. Start at the bottom and move up: shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, running bra (women); band-aids; Body Glide; sunscreen; sunglasses and headwear (hat or visor). Dress as if the temperature will be 15 – 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature. While you may be cold at the start of your run, you will warm up quickly in the first mile or two. If the weather is predicted to be chilly, consider long pants or long sleeve shirt, gloves and a headband. Bring a large empty garbage bag to wear over your torso before you start the marathon, or throwaway clothes (don’t expect to see them again) to wear until the race starts. Pin any identification information or bib number to the front of your shirt.
On Marathon Day – if you are travelling to a group start, allow extra time to arrive at the starting area. It is better to be early than to panic over being late. If you are running with a group of other runners, line up in the appropriate starting spot, based on the pace you expect to run.
If you are running with a pace group, know the pacer’s philosophy on pace and fluid stops. If the pacer’s way of running does not suit your plan or style, consider how to adjust so you meet the pace group after mile 20.
Don’t panic if you are off pace at the first few mile markers. The most common mistake many marathoners make is running too fast in the early miles. It is better to be in control and a little behind pace during the first 5 miles than to run too fast. Even if you are 2 minutes slower than your pace at mile 1, you have 25 MILES to make up 120 seconds (about 5 seconds per mile).
Know when you will consume water, Gatorade and nutrition. If consuming gel packs or food, consume with water (not a sports drink) at planned intervals according to how you trained. Recommended consumption is 4 – 6 ounces of fluid every 15 – 20 minutes of the race (approximately every 2 miles), more if the weather is hot and humid or if you are a heavy ‘sweater’.
If running with a group or with a few friends, discuss where you will take fluids and where you will regroup after fluid stops.
If you are running on a course with twists and turns, remember to run tangents ‘on the corners’ whenever possible. Remember your high school geometry – the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Run the race backwards. Think of how you want to finish the race – a big smile on your face as you see the finish line in sight! Now plan the race backwards from the time you cross the finish line to the time you read this tip. Prepare for certain landmarks on the course, visualize how you will feel at mile 25, mile 20, mile 15, mile 10, mile 5 and at the start of the race.
Build a positive bubble around yourself.
Repeat to yourself – “I am prepared! I will have a great experience! Good form will carry me through!” Let the words and the thoughts sink in, listen to the words, believe the words, feel the words.
Success is when opportunity meets preparation. The preparation has been building over the last 17 weeks—“the hay is in the barn!”; the opportunity is this weekend – success is the outcome!
Run (or Run-Walk) well.
And if all else fails, repeat: “Good form will carry me through”©.
“Good form will carry you through”®