Congratulations!

“… and those last 6.2 miles, you run those with your heart.”

CONGRATULATIONS Team RMHC runners on completing the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience(!)—and while the experience may have been ‘virtual’… the effort, achievement and sense of accomplishment is very, very real.

For those of you for whom this was your ‘first ever’ marathon, your training and participation in this year’s virtual experience have earned you the right to be called an ‘endurance athlete.’

For the rest of your life, you are a marathoner… and that will forever be a part of how you (and others) identify and define what you are capable of achieving.

If you have friends who are encouraged to run the Chicago Marathon because of what you’ve shared with them about your training and marathon experience, we hope you’ll encourage them to run with Team RMHC in 2021. (Thank you!)

My only “advice” at this point is to not stop running.

Okay. You can stop for a couple of days…

… but what I mean is that after all the training you’ve done for the past

4-plus months, there’s a good chance you’re in the best shape you’ve

been in for ‘quite some time.’

Why stop now? Stay out there—and consider encouraging friends to join you to train for and run a virtual 5K, 8K or 10K ‘Trick or Treat’ run, Turkey Trot or Rudolph Ramble! (What a perfect ‘excuse’ for you and your friends to get together outdoors!)

So.

As much as this E-mail is about congratulating you, it is (even more) about THANKING you… for the effort you’ve made to raise funds to support Ronald McDonald House Charities.

On behalf of the volunteers, staff and Trustees of Ronald McDonald House Charities please accept our most sincere gratitude for the important difference your running will help make possible in the lives of the children and families we serve.

And now, if you will permit me… a little “business” (this is after all a HUGE and important fundraising event for us).

Please know that a good portion of our total fundraising takes place in the next 7-10 days.

To that end, please take a few minutes to share your marathon experience with friends, family and colleagues—what ALWAYS happens is there will be people who slap their forehead and say, “Oh, shoot! I was going to support you!”

Well, good news. THERE’S STILL TIME!

Today or early this week (if you haven’t already done so) write everyone who you originally E-mailed asking for support (and/or post on social media) and tell them about your marathon experience.

THANK those who did support you; and REMIND those who haven’t that their support is still important to the children and families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities, and that there is still time to support you and to support RMHC.

Even if you’ve already met your goal, please continue your fundraising efforts by posting on social media and/or E-mailing everyone on your list. It’s OKAY to be an “over achiever.” What the heck—we’re marathoners… that’s what we do!

Thank you, Team RMHC… for, for, for everything!

You’re THE BEST!

C.

Marathon Training Tip #19

CONGRATULATIONS, MARATHONERS! – and Tips for Recovery.

The 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is in the books.  While this was the most unusual Chicago Marathon ever, and while it was run ‘virtually’ across the country, expressions of joy, exhilaration, relief and satisfaction filled the hearts and souls of runners who participated in the 2020 Chicago Marathon.

Congratulations, Marathoners!

Your preparation and dedication to training over the last 18-plus weeks carried the day.

This week brings time to reflect on the journey and allow the body to recover from the marathon.

In the words of Emil Zatopek (1952 Olympic Gold Medal winner at the 5K, 10K and Marathon distances):  “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

We have experienced transformation in ourselves over the last 18 weeks, throughout the training process.  And like our training regimen, in life we need to balance times of increased stress and cutbacks for recovery.  It is very important to take care of yourselves this week as a marathon (regardless of your pace) causes a weakened immune system for a period of at least a week or two after the race.  During this time, you may be more susceptible to getting sick, and caution is recommended for your well-being.  Be careful if you travel or are exposed to groups of people.

The next few weeks are a time for recovery.  Be kind to your body and your spirit this week.  For quicker recovery – continue to exercise, but gentle exercise this week.  Walking is a great way for tired muscles to repair themselves.  In a few days, consider a (gentle) massage to smooth the recovery.  (A ‘deep’ massage, within 48-72 hours following the race can delay recovery.)

Increase nutrition and hydration, especially Sunday through Wednesday.  Following the race, our bodies need to replenish lost nutrients.  While it is not necessary to consume high amounts of calories (as we did before the marathon), it is important to restore glycogen (‘synthesized’ carbohydrates) to our muscles and protein to repair our muscles and provide energy.  Increase fluid intake as well.  We need to restore fluids and electrolytes depleted on race day and the two to three days after the race are the perfect time to do so.  Our bodies will absorb electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein much more efficiently in these early days.

I have received questions from some runners who noticed white residue on your face and body after the race.  While this is more common in hotter and more humid conditions, this can happen to runners at any temperature.  This evidences loss of sodium, an important electrolyte which needs to be replenished over the first few days after the race.  Be sure to add sports drinks to your diet this week to replenish.

I have been asked by many when is it safe, or recommended, to return to running.  The urge to run again soon (or the dread of running too soon) needs to be balanced with the need for recovery.  Inactivity will prolong muscle soreness and repair.  Walking is a great alternative Monday and Tuesday.  A walk of 30 – 60 minutes will help relieve muscle soreness.  Follow a ‘reverse taper’ as to running.  Look back over your training schedule for the last two weeks leading up to the marathon.  Reverse the days and mileage of your training program to ease back into running.  Run at a very slow, easy pace until you ‘feel your legs’ again.  This may take several days or a few weeks.

You may also experience soreness walking down stairs.  If this happens to you, turn around and walk down the stairs backwards.  Your quads and hamstrings will say “thank you”.

Be cognizant of a condition called “DOMS”, which is an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a condition whereby deep muscle and tissue damage (like marathoners experience on race day) exhibit themselves in more pronounced soreness 24 – 48 hours after exercise.  Your muscles may feel more fatigued Tuesday than they felt Sunday or Monday.  This is common for athletes, especially for marathoners.

Sitting in a tub of cool water (not necessarily ice water) will help relieve muscle inflammation and dissipate soreness.

This week is a great opportunity to reflect on your accomplishment of completing the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and recognizing the person you have become over the last 18 weeks of training.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey.

Coach Brendan

““Good form will carry you through”®

REVISED – Virtual Pasta Party!

Learned that our McD webex could not support video from tablet or mobile so we’ve set up a new Zoom login for the Virtual Pasta Dinner!

Join us on Saturday, October 10th from 5-6pm CST for our Team RMHC Virtual Pasta Party!

Just because we can’t celebrate in-person, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate…so make some pasta and video conference in for a pre-race carbo load celebration!

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 872 7638 9984

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Hope to see you all there!

Marathon Training Tip #18: “THE HAY IS IN THE BARN!”

Marathon Week is finally here!  Upon reflection, it’s hard to believe that the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than one week away.  17 weeks ago, we embarked on a journey which culminates this weekend.  Unfortunately, we will not be gathering in Grant Park this year, and most of us are running a ‘virtual marathon’ near home.  Certainly, this is a different atmosphere than in years past. 

Many of you will be running a solo virtual marathon or running with a small group of friends.  Others of you in different areas outside of Chicago may be running with larger groups.  However, some things do not change, even with our unusual approach to training and the race experience in 2020.

The Mission for which you run has not changed, and the goals set at the beginning of the season are still important goals.  Even if your goals have shifted throughout the season, you are on the verge of a great accomplishment.  Through your dedication, perseverance and effort, that goal which seemed Impossible on Memorial Day morphed into the Improbable by Labor Day and now, reaching the goal is Inevitable!

Farmers have a saying – “The Hay is in the Barn” – an acknowledgment that nothing more needs to be done (or can be done) at this point in the season for your event.  There is nothing you can do to improve your performance on race day.  Trust your training to date and enjoy this last week before race day.

Less than 1% of the general population has completed a marathon.  Be proud of your accomplishments.  This week show your Marathon PRIDE:

P  lan  –  have  a plan for the race, and be sure to follow it.

R  est  –  get plenty of rest every night this week.

I            – I  know my running type–generally runners fall into three types (even split runners, negative split runners, or positive split runners) — know the type you are and plan your race strategy accordingly. 

D  rink   –   stay hydrated throughout the week, do not overdrink on Friday and Saturday. Your urine should be the color of pale lemonade.

E  at  –    eat the right amount of protein and carbohydrates.

            Nutrition breakdown:

60 – 65% (up to 70% towards the end of this week) Carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta and cereals);

10 – 15% protein (lean red meats, poultry and legumes);

25 – 30% fats (staying away from trans fatty oils and fried foods).

A day or two before your race – set out all the clothes you will wear on race day.  Start with the clothes you will wear in the race.  These should be clothes you have already worn on a long run.  Go through a checklist.  Start at the bottom and move up:  shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, running bra (women); band-aids; Body Glide; sunscreen; sunglasses and headwear (hat or visor).  Dress as if the temperature will be 15 – 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature.  While you may be cold at the start of your run, you will warm up quickly in the first mile or two.  If the weather is predicted to be chilly, consider long pants or long sleeve shirt, gloves and a headband.  Bring a large empty garbage bag to wear over your torso before you start the marathon, or throwaway clothes (don’t expect to see them again) to wear until the race starts.  Pin any identification information or bib number to the front of your shirt.

On Marathon Day – if you are travelling to a group start, allow extra time to arrive at the starting area.  It is better to be early than to panic over being late.  If you are running with a group of other runners, line up in the appropriate starting spot, based on the pace you expect to run.

Nothing New On Race Day!

If you are running with a pace group, know the pacer’s philosophy on pace and fluid stops.  If the pacer’s way of running does not suit your plan or style, consider how to adjust so you meet the pace group after mile 20.

Don’t panic if you are off pace at the first few mile markers.  The most common mistake many marathoners make is running too fast in the early miles.  It is better to be in control and a little behind pace during the first 5 miles than to run too fast.  Even if you are 2 minutes slower than your pace at mile 1, you have 25 MILES to make up 120 seconds (about 5 seconds per mile).

Know when you will consume water, Gatorade and nutrition.  If consuming gel packs or food, consume with water (not a sports drink) at planned intervals according to how you trained.  Recommended consumption is 4 – 6 ounces of fluid every 15 – 20 minutes of the race (approximately every 2 miles), more if the weather is hot and humid or if you are a heavy ‘sweater’.

If running with a group or with a few friends, discuss where you will take fluids and where you will regroup after fluid stops.

If you are running on a course with twists and turns, remember to run tangents ‘on the corners’ whenever possible.  Remember your high school geometry – the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Run the race backwards.  Think of how you want to finish the race – a big smile on your face as you see the finish line in sight!  Now plan the race backwards from the time you cross the finish line to the time you read this tip.  Prepare for certain landmarks on the course, visualize how you will feel at mile 25, mile 20, mile 15, mile 10, mile 5 and at the start of the race.

Build a positive bubble around yourself. 

Repeat to yourself – “I am prepared!  I will have a great experience!  Good form will carry me through!”  Let the words and the thoughts sink in, listen to the words, believe the words, feel the words.

Success is when opportunity meets preparation.  The preparation has been building over the last 17 weeks—“the hay is in the barn!”; the opportunity is this weekend – success is the outcome!

Run (or Run-Walk) well.

And if all else fails, repeat:  “Good form will carry me through”©.

Coach Brendan

“Good form will carry you through”®

Final Thoughts For Marathon Week

Oh. My. Gosh!

It’s Marathon Week!

That means in just 6 days (or sooner!) you’ll be standing at your ‘START’ line, about to run the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience.

And just hours later, you’ll be crossing the ‘FINISH’—with arms raised, and the biggest EVER smile on your face.

And in your heart.

At this point, the marathon is inside of you–or as Coach Brendan likes to say, “The hay is in the barn!”

Your training is complete… so your focus this week is simply to manage (or ‘wrestle with’) the anticipation of running 26.2 miles; and to embrace the heartwarming satisfaction of knowing the important difference you’re making to support the children and families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities.

(BIG smile.)

To help you “manage” this week’s anticipation I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from running my marathons, that will help you have a more successful run on Marathon Day.

NERVOUS IS NORMAL. Feeling nervous and ‘anxious’ is totally to be expected. It means you’re respecting the challenge ahead, as you should. 26.2 miles is a serious distance, and running a marathon is a “big deal” event. But PLEASE know (as I’m certain you do), that the commitment and effort you’ve made to get yourself to the ‘START’ will get you to the ‘FINISH.’ (You know that.)

SLEEP. Get as much rest and sleep as you can on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. It never fails–the night before a marathon I am ALWAYS staring at the alarm clock at midnight, 1:00 AM and 2:30 AM… asking myself, “How am I ever going to run 26.2 miles just 5 hours from now?” (And yet I do run 26.2 miles—but

it sure helps to ‘bank’ a few hours of extra sleep during the week).

FOOD AND WATER. As much as you hear that it’s important to have a good ‘carbo load’ the night before the marathon–it’s even better to have a ‘carbo build‘ over the several days leading up to the marathon… on Thursday, Friday and Saturday—giving your body time to process and absorb those carbs, and turn them into glycogen ‘stores.’ Also, throughout the week, keep hydrated—drinking plenty of water every day.

RUN YOUR OWN RACE. Many of you may be running this ‘Virtual Experience’ on your own, but if you’re fortunate to be running with one or more friends… you can agree “upfront” that you’ll TRY to stay together, but it’s likely that (at some point) one of you may be trying too hard to ‘keep up’ with the others; or one of you may become frustrated that you have to slow down to keep your friends company. If you truly (truly) agree to stay together for the entire 26.2 miles, then ‘okay’—that’s the deal… but if you’re there to run the best you can, then agree at the ‘START’ that it’s okay for one of you to run ahead or run behind. This is YOUR marathon.

COME TO MARATHON DAY WITH A ‘PLAN B. “You can’t control what you can’t control.” That may include the weather, which may not be ‘perfect’ for running; a muscle soreness that was SUPPOSED to go away by now; or a “funny tummy” marathon morning. But none of these need to spoil your marathon experience. Anticipate that any of these MAY occur and have a ‘PLAN B’ for your race. Too many people train for 20 weeks and come to the marathon DETERMINED to run “the plan they planned”… and often hurt themselves trying; or find that they’ve simply run out of “everything” by mile 18 or 20. DEFINITELY come to the Marathon with a race plan—but also come with a ‘PLAN B.’

PACE YOURSELF. Probably the single biggest mistake marathon runners make is starting out too quickly. Veteran runners. “First-timers.” It doesn’t matter… the tendency is to run too fast, too soon. Use ‘Mile 3’ as a benchmark. If your plan is to run an 11:00 pace, then you should be at ‘Mile 3’ in 33 minutes. If you get there in 30 or 31 minutes (or anything less than 33:00), you’re running w-a-y too fast and need to SLOW DOWN. Now! And do the same at mile 5, making sure you’re there at 55:00 minutes.

FINALLY… (and something that has become my personal marathon race plan): “Run the first 10 miles with your head (that is—run smart; run your race, at your pace); run the next 10 miles with your legs (these are the ‘tough 10’ miles that you need to put your whole body into running); and those last 6.2 miles… you run those with your heart.”

Those last 6.2 miles ARE the marathon–the miles you trained more than 4 MONTHS to run.

So those are my “final thoughts” for the week ahead.

Well, those… and my most heartfelt gratitude for all that you’ve done to train and run and fundraise to support Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Thank you Team RMHC. You’re THE BEST!

Run Strong. Finish proud.

Always.

C.

Enough Said

Well, the last double-digit‘long-run’ is in the books… and after 4 months of training, you

are ready to run and complete the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virtual Experience.

Your BODY knows that.

And if you’re honest with yourself, your HEART knows that as well.

But at this point in the journey, your HEAD may not yet have caught up—and to that point, permit me to paraphrase a famous quote from baseball legend (and ‘every man’ philosopher) Yogi Berra: “Running a marathon is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

And on October 11th, that is EXACTLY the truth.

If a marathon runner’s ‘Rule #1’ is “Listen to your body”… then it’s now time for my ‘Rule #2’: “Listen to your heart.

You are ready.

One year, as I was standing at the “START” of the Chicago Marathon, I overheard

a conversation between a ‘first time’ marathoner and a marathon ‘veteran.’

The ‘first timer’ was doubting himself, saying how nervous he was and how worried he was that he wouldn’t be able to finish the 26.2 miles.

The veteran paused for a moment and simply asked, “Did you do the work?”

The first-timer said, “I’ve trained for more than 4 months, if that’s what you mean.”

To which the veteran replied, “Then what are you worried about? Go out there and have the time of your life…

(Enough said.)

And that sentiment is exactly my wish for each of you as well—on October 11th, go out there and have the time of your life!

Train safe. Run strong.

Finish proud.

Always.

C.

MARATHON TRAINING TIP #17: TAPER TIME

As the season wraps up, we have now run the longest long-run of the training season.  For many, it was the longest run of your life; and smiles abounded everywhere you looked.  And now with just two weeks to go we are in the final phase of training for the virtual 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon – the “Taper Period”.

This training phase confuses many runners, especially first-time marathon runners.  These last 2-3 weeks of the season have us running fewer miles and shorter times.  This seems counterintuitive to most of us, especially those of us running our first marathon.  I am often asked:

“Why is our longest long-run less than the marathon distance, and why do we run our 20-miler so far in advance of race day?  Won’t my training suffer by running less over the three weeks before race day?  Shouldn’t I be running more miles these last few weeks?”

First, we run less than marathon distance as the longest training run to reduce the risk of injury.  Marathon training, like training for most endurance events – is a risk/benefit analysis.  The risk of running too many training miles (based, in part, on the experience, base level and current condition of the individual runner) must be weighed against how much training will maximize performance on race day.  And the stress on the body is cumulative throughout the season.

Studies have shown that running long-run distances greater than 20 miles in training carries a higher risk of injury than the physical benefits resulting from longer training runs.  This is true for experienced marathoners as well as first-time marathoners.  This is why only experienced and well-trained runners should run multiple long runs of 20 miles or longer.  Time on our feet is the best preparation for marathon day.  Once we have a long run in the range of 3 and a half hours or longer, we are better able to handle race day.

Second, we run the longest run of training three weeks before race day to allow our bodies to recover and get stronger for race day.  Physiologically, our bodies need one easy day of recovery for each mile of a hard workout.  For a 20-mile run (which is a ‘hard workout’ due to total mileage – regardless of pace), this is approximately 20 days, or three weeks.  During this time, we do not stop running or training, but shorter runs allow our bodies to adapt and recover from the cumulative stress and physical ‘wear and tear’ on our bodies resulting from several months of training. 

Third, our training does not suffer over the taper period.  Our body’s adaptation from training requires about two to three weeks to fully benefit from training.  The maximum benefit from this weekend’s long run is realized on or close to race day.  A reduction in mileage at this point of training improves performance, while additional miles tend to hurt performance on marathon day.

Over these last few weeks the shorter runs bring life back to our legs as we prepare for the journey on Marathon Day.  The ‘Taper Phase’ of training is the time to fine-tune our training, and many runs are now run at our marathon pace.  Remember – for many first-time marathoners, your long run training pace IS your marathon pace.  Practice running at a comfortable pace for race day.

This is also the time to reflect upon training and re-establish goals for race day.  Visualize a successful race, from the time you leave home to the time you cross the finish line and all the way back home.  Prepare for the unexpected – weather, crowds, traffic, slow start – and have a ‘PLAN B’ in advance of how to turn each of these potentially negative events into a positive situation.

Coach Brendan

“Good form will carry you through”®

And… Taper

To those of you who just ran your “first ever” 20-miler, CONGRATULATIONS! And to those of you who just ran your “2nd, 3rd or 10th ever” 20-miler,

CONGRATULATIONS!

At this point, you can truthfully say that you’re no longer training to run the marathon. You can now say you are runningthe marathon.

Right now, at this very moment… the marathon is inside of you.

And on October 11 you can stand at your (virtual) ‘START’ line with the certainty that you areprepared to run 26.2 miles.

(BIG smile.)

If this was a ‘tough 20’ for you (and why shouldn’t you feel that way, YOU JUST RAN 20 MILES!) and you’re wondering “how in the heck am I ever going to run 26.2”… don’t EVER underestimate the strength and endurance resulting from months of marathon training; or the inspiring support of friends and family as they show up to cheer you on, on Marathon Day; or the humbling pride you’ll feel on October 11 as you call to mind the fundraising support you’ve received for the children and families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities.

At the very beginning of this training journey I said, “The hardest part of running the marathon is NOT running the marathon. The hardest part of running the marathon is TRAINING to run the marathon.”

And now, the hardest part of that training is completed.

Now, it’s “taper time”—time to let your bodies recover from the 300 or 400 (plus?!) miles you have likely run over the course of the training season.

Your ‘mantra’ at this point—from today until Marathon Day—should be “DO. NO. HARM.”

If you’ve missed a couple (or more) long-runs, don’t try to play “catch up” over the next 3 weeks. Those runs are gone, and it’s best to leave those missed miles behind you.

And if you feel a need to run more miles than your training schedule calls for… “step away from the edge.” (That is to say, FOLLOW YOUR TRAINING SCHEDULE!)

Finally, please accept my MOST sincere gratitude (again!), for ALL that you’re

doing to train and run and fundraise to support Ronald McDonald House Charities.

You’re THE BEST!

Train safe. Run strong.

Finish proud.

Always.

C.

Week 16 – FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTENTMENT (and Relaxation)

FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTENTMENT (and Relaxation)

This week’s ‘20-miler’ long run is the longest training run of the season – just three weeks before the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  After this long run, we begin the ‘taper phase’ of training–our final stage leading up to October 11.  We have successfully negotiated 15 weeks of marathon training and the goal – Marathon Day – is within reach.

Let’s take a moment to review some of the important Training Tips from recent weeks:

  • Nothing new on Race Day!  We should all have experimented with sleep, nutrition and pacing for Marathon Day.  Practice this week as if this were the week before Marathon Day to see how our bodies respond on the long run this Saturday.
  • You should have purchased your shoes for Marathon Day.  Shoes purchased at the beginning of the season will have too many miles on them for Marathon Day.  The shoes you wear on October 11 should have 50 – 100 miles logged before Marathon Day (but not more than 100 miles).  Hopefully, you have recently just started running in a new pair of shoes and the long run this Saturday will account for 20 of those miles.
  • Review your goals.  If your fitness level has improved, now is a good time to set a higher goal.  If ‘life got in the way’ and training went less well than expected, revise your goals to be more realistic.  Be honest with yourself and make your goals realistic and achievable.
  • Review how to best ‘fuel up’ this week and on the long run this Saturday.  Which foods provide the best base before the long run and which products work best during the long runs (gel paks, blocks, pretzels, etc.).
  • Don’t Over Train – if workouts (especially long runs) have been missed, they are gone and cannot safely be made up at this point.  Do not increase aggregate weekly mileage by more than 10% and do not increase your long run distance by more than 1 or 2 miles from your most recent longest long run.  A greater jump in mileage brings a greater risk of injury due to overtraining.
  • If injured, the first course of action is R.I.C.E. (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.), and if the soreness persists – see a medical professional or an ‘endurance sports’ physical therapist.  Our window for recovery is rapidly closing.  Do not ‘push through’ minor injuries to the point they become major injuries.

And this week brings another opportunity to establish and practice our race pace.  Throughout the season, we have run our Saturday long runs at a Long Slow Distance (“LSD”) pace, as much as 1 – 2 minutes per mile slower than our race pace.  Training at LSD pace has built our endurance.  The time on our feet for the training runs has taught our bodies to burn fuel more efficiently with a mixture of glycogen and fat.

The next few weeks are a time to run closer to race pace on our weekday runs, and to mix in a few faster miles on the long run.  For most first time marathoners, and especially for those new to running, the Saturday long run pace IS your Marathon Pace.  There is no need to run faster.

If you are following Running Schedule 3 or Run-Walk Schedules 5 or 6, you can run up to 4 miles of this weekend’s long run at a faster pace to see how your body adjusts.  These faster miles should be in the second half of the long run, approximately at miles 12 – 16.  If you are following Running Schedule 1 or 2, you can run a few more miles at a faster pace, and these too should be in the latter part of the long run.

This week’s long run is another opportunity to practice mental skills as well.  When we run the same course throughout the training season, there are certain places along our run where our minds and bodies perform better, on a subconscious level.  I think of this as the ‘sweet spot’ of training.  Pay attention to the course and try to discover where this point (or points) is.  Once you recognize your sweet spot(s), keep those in mind, and bring them with you on October 11.

On Marathon Day, it’s normal for all athletes to experience a letdown somewhere along the race course.  If this happens, bring back the images (and the feelings you experienced) from your sweet spot.  Think about the landmarks from your familiar route and visualize these landmarks on the marathon course.  This will help you get back into the groove and finish stronger.

And in all your training from now to Marathon Day, remember the good running form techniques on which you’ve worked throughout training.  Above all else, remember ‘Good form will carry you through’©.

Coach Brendan

“Good form will carry you through”®

Mind Game

For most of you, this coming weekend is your “20-miler.”

And no matter whether this is your ‘first-ever’ marathon (and the first time that you will ever be running 20 miles) or your ‘tenth-ever’ marathon… 20 miles is a “BIG DEAL” run.

When you started this journey just over three months ago, the “spirit” of the marathon was somewhere inside of you—either in your head, in your heart, or in your legs.

The “20-miler” is when that spirit takes flight… when you (and it) finally soar—knowing that the next time you run 20 miles, you’ll be running 26.2.

(Goosebumps.)

20 miles?

You’ll do it.

Just like you did 14 and 16 miles. And 18.

One mile at a time.

And once you run 20, you WILL run 26.2.

Trust me. (I’m not making this stuff up.)

And yes… after you finish your “20-miler” there’s a good chance you’ll say to yourself, “How can I possibly run another 6.2?”

But it’s a ‘mind game.’

The reason you’ll say that to yourself is because all week long, all you thought about was running 20 miles; and because on the day of your 20-miler, you started the morning knowing that “20 miles” was what you had to run.

Not 21. Not 22.

Not 26.2.

You knew you were running 20 miles–and when you reached that 20, your mind and your body said “STOP.”

Just as it did on earlier long runs, when you ran 16 and 18 miles.

On October 11, you will stand at your ‘START’ line mentally and physically prepared to run 26.2 miles.

Which is what you told yourself you would do on Marathon Day.

Which is what you trained yourself to do.

Which is what you will do.

Thank you Team RMHC… for the commitment you’re making every day, to train and run and fundraise to support the children and families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Train safe. Run strong.

And (of course), finish proud.

Always.

C.