Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thinking Ahead

Right now, the thought of running 26.2 miles is fairly unfathomable. But, as I begin slowly increasing my miles, it's never too early to start thinking about strategies for getting myself across the finish line.

I've heard experienced runners say that in a marathon you run the first 10 miles with your head, the second 10 miles with your legs, and the last six miles with your heart. So what does running with your heart mean? What strategies will I use to push thru those last 6 miles?

I found an article on Runner's World that reported some tips used by a marathon pacer-- (pacers are experienced runners who'll run a set pace for the whole race to help others run their goal time.) Here's what this one gal said to help keep runners focused in the last 6 miles:

"Okay, everyone, this is where we start taking the race one mile at a time. For each mile, I'm going to ask you to focus on something. For mile 20, your focus is on the reason you're in this race. Is this a Boston qualifier, a personal best, a dare from a friend?"

"Five miles left. Now for this next mile, I want you to focus on all the work that you've done to be here, and how it's all paying off now."

"For this mile, 22, we focus on the personal support system, on our families, friends, children, parents? -everyone who has helped you over the past few months. Give them a silent shout-out of thanks."

"Three miles to go. We all have a personal hero, someone who has been through something so much harder than a marathon. Let's think about what they got through, and use that strength."

"Just two miles left, guys. Remember a time in your life when you demonstrated great strength in some other arena. Tap into that strength now. Only one tenth of one percent of the U.S. population finishes a marathon every year, so you're about to achieve something special."

"Last mile, everybody. You are going to do it! Every step at this point is erasing that distance to the finish line."

I like the idea of a new focus point for each mile. What about you? What strategies have you used-- in a marathon or in other situations where you've had to rely on more than just your mind and/or your body to get you thru a situation? I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Mantras for specific frustrations I knew I would feel throughout the race (and a few "use only in emergency" mantras). Specific songs I thought about durign specific miles. Prayer and dedication lists for specific miles. Repeating my list of reasons for doing this event over and over and over ....and over again.