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November 11, 2014

Five Things People Won’t Tell You About Your Goal Race

Written by Dena Evans



There is a lot of advice available for prospective marathoners and half marathoners taking on a big challenge.  Much of that advice focuses on topics related specifically to how to physically and mentally complete the race.  All of this well intentioned information, including all the good stuff that comes from this blog, misses a few subtle aspects of a goal race that are often overlooked.  Here is some of that "secondary" advice!


Be able to answer the question:  “Why are you doing this?”

You may or may not ever be asked throughout this entire process.  If you are asked or just find yourself wondering, you should know.  It helps give you tremendous focus and motivation when preparing and when battling through the tough spots of the race.  When you finish, it helps the whole project have tremendous resonance.  This may be a no-brainer for many with clear causes, but for those who have entered on a whim, it is worth unpacking the deeper reason for the commitment needed for the race.


Have a ride ready

There can be a great deal of angst about the pre-race logistics, but often, the post-race getaway plan is an afterthought.  When the ground stops feeling like a treadmill and the sweat starts to chill, you will be glad of a clear cut way to a soft seat and the comforts you most desire in recovery.  Goal races often take a village and this part is one where you can maximize your support network effectively.


Channel Ferris Bueller in the last miles

The last miles of a marathon or half marathon can be very tough and require great focus to find the finish line.  But like that teenage sage Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Now, no one is suggesting you actually stop unless you need to!  However, the actual race itself, which once seemed so long, will be over in a flash.  Enjoy it, look around, celebrate your presence at the farthest point you may have ever traveled on your own two feet, and try to soak it in.  Those sights and sounds help you remember the experience and remember it fondly even after the sore muscles are recovered.


Stay on the yellow line

Most cities like their roads to drain when the rain or snow falls.  This means, many roads tilt to the outside on either side of the roadbed.  Running or walking along a cambered road for a few miles may not be a big deal to your brain, but traveling along an uneven / slanted surface for many miles when working hard or fatigued can take a toll on IT bands, hips, knees, or other parts of the body.  Follow the yellow line and keep yourself on the path to injury-free recovery.


Smile when you pass the cameras

Sometimes mid-race pictures lose a bit of sheen due to the unfortunate effects of gravity.  A winning smile can help keep the focus on the excitement inside and the pride in having the courage to be out there. Even if you aren’t enjoying the exact moment, make the effort to smile.  This will buoy your mood and give you the boost you need to make it to the next smile point along the way.






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