Since we’re in the middle of marathon season I wanted to share the three most useful pieces of marathon advice I have ever received. Now I know no one asked me, but this isn’t my advice, it’s advice I have taken and have (quite literally) gotten a lot of mileage from, so that makes it okay, right?
So without further ado:
Late in the race, when your legs feel like they belong to the Tin Man and you just seem to keep slowing down, do between two and six surges between 15 and 30 seconds long. I know, it sounds like it will hurt – and it probably will. But I can’t understate how helpful this has been for me. It’s like a little shot of caffeine that wakes up sleepy muscles and makes goal pace feel so much easier.
Late in a marathon, when it hurts as much to walk as it does to run, resist the urge to walk. Running will get you there faster, and let’s face it, if you are within seconds of your goal – or any round number for that matter – you will kick yourself for that extra walk break. Once you can use your legs again, that is.
And the Number 1 Most Useful Piece of Advice I’ve Ever Received About the Marathon:
Turn off your brain and run.
95% of the problems encountered during endurance events begin between the ears. Any that begin elsewhere are arguably exacerbated when you start thinking about them, dwelling on them, and letting them drag you down. So don’t think. Just run.
Bonus: Enjoy yourself. You have put in way too much time and effort to spend the race hating every second of it. Enjoy the weather, no matter what it’s like. Enjoy the cheers. Enjoy your strength. Enjoy the pain.
You’ve earned it.