I attended the Landrunners club meeting on Monday night and heard some wonderful advice from experienced marathoners to first time marathoners. I didn't feel myself worthy to give any advice since I am still learning the tricks of the trade myself. I picked up a few tips that I may try for my next marathon. I say for my next marathon because the A-#1 rule for marathons is don't ever do anything that you haven't done in your training runs. The body is a wonderful thing but it can never be counted on to react the way you think it should. So if you haven't attempted something before during the training, don't try it in the marathon.
After the club meeting I had a nice conversation with Reese and My Hero about marathons and marathoning (not sure that's a word). Reese made a comment that I can't get out of my head. We were talking about how difficult the marathon is and how you can have great training, be totally prepared, and it's still hard to put it all together and run a good marathon. For instance, right now I can easily run a 8:00/mile pace for 15 miles. I know it because I ran just a little bit faster than that in the Beacon on the Bay. Ok, so I can easily predict a 8:30 pace for the marathon right? It's only 11 more miles and I get to run :30 seconds slower so, no problem right? WRONG!!!! The marathon is so long a distance that it takes so many things to go just right in order for the race to go well.
In engineering we like to identify all the risk factors and develop a plan to deal with them. If they can't be engineered out of a solution we at least must identify them and reduce the probability of occurrence or the severity of the impact to a manageable level or we must continue looking for a solution. In the marathon it is almost impossible to even identify all the things that could go wrong, let alone deal with them!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, unlike shorter distances, the predicted outcome of a marathon is not linearly predictable from the training. You can't say, oh I can run a 1:40:00 1/2 marathon so I am sure I can run a 3:20:00 marathon. Yes, theoretically you can! BUT give it a try, Jack, and I bet you'll change your tune. That's not to say that training is not beneficial. It is but, in the marathon, there is no assurance of even finishing, let alone running a predictable time.
I wish I could take credit for the phrase "RESPECT THE DISTANCE" but it was Reese who said it last night and I love it. It seems to embody why I love and hate the marathon so much. 26.2 miles is a long way, many things can go wrong. If you don't respect it you will be bitten and it can hurt. That's why everyone who runs a marathon is to be respected. I'm not sure I understood that until I did one. Being able to say I'm a marathoner is something I'll treasure forever and I hope, if you've done one, you hold your head high and take pride in what you achieved.
Hope this wasn't too preachy, if it was it was more for myself than for anyone else.
Did you catch the women's Olympic marathon trials? What a race, I was so excited when Deena was catching Magdalena. What a difference in strategies and it seemed to work for both of them. Magdalena didn't win but she ran HER race and it work for her to qualify! I love that. Run your race regardless of what the others were doing. She knew she needed to run sub-2:30 and that's the pace she set out on. That takes guts to leave the pack and trust thyself.
3 easy miles tonight, stretching, Planks, and an ice bath. Still looking for the massage this week.
Thanks for listening.