I'm really excited to be running this year's Boston Marathon with an amazing crew of runners. Each one of these people has put in a ton of work, and is set up for a great day on April 21st. We're all running for different reasons, with different goals, but we all are running partly to show that the Boston Marathon is, and will always will be, a celebratory day for the city of Boston and the running community.
I spend a lot of time playing the numbers game and weighing probabilities of various outcomes as a running coach. Things come up for everyone, whether those things are the beginnings of an injury or just a scheduling conflict. A significant proportion of my job is taking a step back and making an intelligent decision about what approach gives my runner(s) the highest probability of success and, implicitly, the lowest probability of making the situation worse. Call me "Risk Manager in Chief" for Team Wicked Bonkproof.
I don't generally use this blog as a place to post my own running updates, but feel that this particular post will be valuable for everyone to read. If you're keeping tabs on me, you probably noticed that I posted a good late-afternoon run on Friday, and then posted nothing else for the entire weekend. Not normal behavior for someone in the marathon-specific phase of training for the Boston marathon in 5 weeks. As it turns out, I let work and parenting and running conspire to stretch me way too thin, and ended up having a fainting spell while over at our friends' house for dinner.
Most of us run so that we can race. Some more than others, but for the most part, there are races with goals on our radars. Some races are a success, where we meet the goal(s) we set out to achieve. Others are a huge success, where we surprise ourselves with an even better result than we thought was possible. And, still others are not a success, for one reason or another, where we fall short of the goals that we had for the race. It's this last category of races that tends to stick with us the longest. A lot of the time, dwelling on a "bad" race is more destructive than constructive.
I've been discussing all the final details of the race plan with a runner in Los Angeles who will be running the LA Marathon this weekend. As it turns out, it's going to be warm this weekend for the race, with an expected high on race day of around 80 degrees. Many major marathons in recent years have been characterized by warmer-than-expected temperatures (though 80 isn't out of the ordinary for Southern California). Let's say your marathon or half marathon is coming up, and the forecast is for more heat than you hoped for. What should you do?
Racing a marathon is a pretty strange thing, if you stop and think about it. Take a pace that you can hardly run for a few miles some days, then string together 26.2 miles at that pace among all the other variables that need to fall in your favor. It leads to a lot of mental games during training. I've experienced all of these as a runner, and I see them surface regularly as a coach. The question is, how can you become confident that you are running the right pace in your workouts so that you don't put yourself in a position to crash on race day?
The "how many miles do you get out of this shoe?" conversation pops up frequently in running circles. For most of us, running shoes are the single largest expense of our sport, and so we're always looking to get as many miles out of a pair as is possible. How do you know when it's time to junk the old pair (if possible, by donating or recycling them) and break in the new?
I'm probably bordering on neurotic about this, but I can't stand to have anything "extra" on my person during a race. And, I also do whatever I can to avoid my race bib flapping, rubbing, or annoying me in any way. A lot of people like to wear a race belt with their bib attached. If you like those, great. If you don't, and you're more like me, here is the "science" of pinning your bib like a pro.
A couple of members of Team Wicked Bonkproof will be running both the 10k and the Half Marathon at the Disney Princess Weekend at Walt Disney World tomorrow and Sunday. I've been through multiple strategy sessions for Disney races with runners at this point, and one of the discussion topics is always, "How should I deal with the traffic early on?" In any big race, save for maybe the Boston Marathon where the corrals are very competitively seeded, there is going to be some traffic in the beginning. If you want to move up and find yourself some running room, here is what I recommend:
I'll open by admitting that I am guilty of what I am about to describe, though I have gotten better about this of late. I keep noticing a social media phenomenon where people describe rest days as "worse than hard workouts" or "torture" or some other negative hyperbole. This is one part ego stroking, and one part ignoring sound training advice due to the influences of social sharing (i.e.., the "leader board" mentality). But, if we're all being honest, there is real value in taking rest days, and they really aren't so bad.