25 April 2016

What If You Are a Better Runner Than You Think? - OC Marathon Race Plan

I've put it out there recently that I've been training for a "stand alone" marathon - the OC (Orange County) Marathon - on May 1. It will be my 2nd one ever. The first was the 2008 San Diego Rock'n'Roll where I went 4:29. The other 8 marathons I've done have been as part of an Ironman. Over the past year and a half I've run 5 half marathons, trying to improve my run, which is the weakest part of my triathlon.

A few things came together to make me want to try this. 1st, my best 1/2 marathon time came down a decent amount. 2nd, Caitlyn Pilkington ran her first marathon at Carlsbad in 2015 and qualified for Boston. 3rd, I used a couple of different "time predictors" that extrapolated what I could do for a marathon based on my 1/2 marathon time. And finally, I turn 60 this year so I decided to look up what the BQ time was for my geezerly age group.

With a history of plantar f-ing-itis this might not have been a brilliant plan but I decided to train for a marathon and try to achieve a Boston Qualifying time. In less than a week comes the test. Some readers like to know what my race plan and intentions are so I'm putting it together here. After writing (and reading) so many triathlon race plans, it would be easy for me to take this more casually. But since I DO have a plan and because I have serious personal goals, I thought I'd put it out for those interested.

The title of this post reflects my mental focus. I learned quite sometime ago from Coach Kirsten Lewis about the use of affirmation questions as part of the mental game. I have also been thinking about how I see myself in relation to running and how that view has been limiting and possibly gotten in the way of how I perform. In my attempt to override that on a mental level I've got 3 affirmation questions I'll be asking myself. Some of this may sound narcissistic but it isn't about what I'm telling other people. Normally these are just private questions that I want to play in my head as things get tough during the race. I'm just sharing here for any insight they may give you for your own preparation and performance.

Mental Focus (affirmation questions):
  1. What if I am a better runner than I think? 
  2. What if this is supposed to feel this way?
  3. What does it take to achieve my greatness?
Overall Goals:
Experiential: Absorb and enjoy the excitement, enthusiasm, and support. Be grateful for being able to race and for the love and support of family, friends, and volunteers. Thank people, Smile, Race joyfully. Embrace the pain and push to my limits.
Process: Monitor HR and mile pace. Control pace at the beginning to finish strong. Take in calories and water on the course at planned intervals. Run the shortest route.
Performance: Primary goal is to be sub-3:55 for a Boston Qualifying time. The truly honest stretch goal is 3:51(rarely do I publicly admit to this goal).
Outcome: No specific goal for place - finish time is what matter most to me.

Keys for Success:
  • Pacing: miles 1-9 @ 9:00/mi. average pace, HR 120's; miles 10-18 @ 8:51, HR 130's; miles 19-26.2 let it go and fight to finish strong.
  • Following through in utilizing the mental game plan.
  • Staying calm and controlled during the first 2/3rds of the race - getting ahead of myself because I feel good could lead to 'failure'.
  • Nutrition taken in while walking the aid stations (miles 6.5, 10, 14, 18, 22 for calories); carry salt just in case.
  • Taking shortest route.
  • Running with music.
Race Week:
  • Early bedtime and early rise
  • Make and use lists
  • Roll, grind, wear plantar f. night splint boot
  • Premix ingredients for race morning smoothie (1 scoop protein, 1 scoop UCAN, 1 scoop super greens, 2 scoops beet powder) + coconut milk
Race Morning:
3:30am - get up, blend and drink smoothie, Immodium, supplements, hot shower, bathroom
3:50 - dress, sunscreen
4:?? - shuttle to start - visualize, relax, breathe
4:45 - bathroom
4:50 - easy warm up and muscle activation - stay warm - visualize, mindset, focus
5:00 - drink 1 scoop UCAN, 5 Hour Energy, 5 Perfect Amino, 1 caffeine tab
5:20 - relax, stay warm, line up with 3:50 pace group - visualize, mindset, focus
5:30 - Race Start

Run nutrition timing and plan:
My calorie intake will be limited during the race. I'll carry 2 gels for back up but intend to use Gatoraid supplied on the course at miles 10 (if I need it), 14, 18, and 22. I take in water with that and drink additional water in small amounts at other aid stations as needed. I'll also be carrying a tube of electrolyte salts as a precaution, likely taking some a few times after the 1/2 way point.

List of Stuff (so far):
Race belt and bib #2667
2 gels
Trash bag "shirt"
iPod, headphones, and charger
coconut milk, powder mix
pre-race nutrition in water bottle
foot powder
hat and headband
HR strap
Garmin and charger
night boot
Rubz ball, roller, softball, stick
Post race recovery food
wet wipes
compression socks
sharpie black marker
sleep mask and ear plugs
sunglasses for post-race

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