Marathon Race Strategy: No F-Bombs

I admit it.  I checked the Boston Entry list again this morning. 🙂 Just to make sure I didn’t dream the whole thing up and that I really AM running in the Boston Marathon in April.  And my name was still really there. 🙂

Ok – who’s sick of me talking about Boston already?

Well then, let’s talk Chicago Marathon! My run this morning left me feeling MUCH better about things.  6 miles with 3 miles at goal marathon pace.  And the best part of it was that the MP miles felt great – almost effortless.  Of course there were only 3 of them, instead of 26.2 of them!  But still.

Between life and work craziness, I’ve been trying to figure out a race strategy.  It’s easier, in many ways, to figure out pacing strategy for a race like Chicago where it is apparently flat the whole way (except for tiny bit at mile 26).  I don’t need to take into account evil 2 mile gradual uphills, like at Twin Cities.  Or EVIL downhills at mile 17 like at Little Rock.

I know I’m NOT going to go with the old “go out too fast and then gradually fade and then finish the last 6 miles dropping F-bombs” strategy.  I’ve done that one far too many times and it’s just way too painful.

I also know I’m not going to use the strategy where I have very specific prescribed paces for each mile.  That strategy has too much freak out potential (i.e. I’ll freak out if I’m off pace and then lose my mental game and then resort to the afore-mentioned F-bombs; been there, done that many times as well).

I also know I’m NOT going to follow a pacer.  Pacers freak me out.  They usually go too fast or too slow.  And then I freak myself out when I get off of their pace and then lose my mental game.  And then – you guessed it – I resort to F-bombs.  I quickly learned after my first couple of marathons that pace groups were not my thing.

So what IS my race strategy?  Simple.  Sort of.  I’m starting at Pace A (which is a MP that if I did 26.2 miles in, I’d be ECSTATIC, but which is actually slower than the goal MP I’ve had in mind, based on my training and fitness, the last 14 weeks)  and holding it through the half marathon point.  And then I’m playing it by feel and either speeding up (by about 10 seconds a mile) if things feel good (well if they feel ok, do they ever really feel good??) or else maintaining Pace A through mile 20.  Then, when I get to mile 2o, I’m switching to mile-by-mile mode and giving it all that I have for each mile (and by “all that I have”, I don’t mean all out like mile race pace.  I mean all that I have for mile 20, 21, 22, etc. of a marathon, which I’m hoping is right around goal marathon pace, or faster).  One mile at a time.

I like my strategy because to me it doesn’t sound complicated. (It may sound complicated to you because I haven’t told you my actual paces; a girl’s gotta have some secrets).  It sounds very do-able.  It has flexibility for me to adjust based on how I feel on that day, during the race.  And I shouldn’t freak out if one particular mile is a bit off.  And it should get me some kind of big PR!  That’s the plan anyway.

And, for the record, my plan is NOT to switch into F-bomb mode at any time.  Unless it ends up being 80 degrees and sunny, then I reserve the right to drop F-bombs right from the starting gun.

4 thoughts on “Marathon Race Strategy: No F-Bombs

  1. I really hope you have good weather. Chicago doesn’t have the best track record.

    I hate pacers! Like I’m going to put the fate of my performance into someone else’s hands! They always go out too fast to bank time. And we know how that turns out 🙂

    1. If it ends up being crappy weather, I’m switching to Plan B – which is just run it as a solid training run and save myself for California International Marathon (which is 8 weeks later).

  2. Pingback: Chicago Marathon 2012 Race Report | Runnin' From The Law

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