Three First Marathon Tips, From Pros

first race
first race

Sarah Crouch: Your Race Plan May Not Always Pan Out the Way You Expect It To

Sarah Crouch offered this tip via an article at “The most crucial mistake I made during the Chicago Marathon was choosing to stick with my designated pacer, even when he ran the 15th mile 15 seconds faster than planned. Even though I felt good enough to speed up, there were still eleven miles left in the race and the extra energy I used in the 15th mile contributed to the decrease in pace over the final few miles.”

The takeaway is, be mindful that even the most careful plans can fall apart. We need to be mindful of that, and be OK with adapting to unexpected changes.

Joan Benoit Samuelson: Don’t Scout the Route

Joan Benoit Samuelson said, “I never look at marathon courses ahead of time. What I don’t know won’t hurt.” It’s a part of her larger strategy of staying in the present moment, and keeping her mind fixed upon what’s important: Her time goal, and the pace that will get her there.

“Don’t look for the first mile marker. Don’t even count them. You want to look up and suddenly see mile seven. Just look at the people in front of you and think about your time goal. Just look at the people ahead of you and try to pull them in one by one.”

Meb: Practice your race day pace without having to go the whole distance

Meb recommends trying out a planned race pace at shorter distances. Of course, it goes without saying, that one should then stick with that planned pace on race day. Don’t get wrapped up in the moment on race day and go out faster than the planned pace. (See Sarah Crouch’s tip above.)

“For example,” Meb says in an article posted to Outside Online, “I will run up to 15 miles at race pace to test my fitness. These tempo runs increase your confidence leading up to the race, and also let you know if you need a bit more time to meet your race goals.”

Photo by Massimo Sartirana on Unsplash


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