Usually my pre-marathon blog post talks about my goals. I go through my a, b and c goals, or I get really bold and say that it’s a PR or bust. This time around, I’m doing something a little bit different.
After all, I think it’s pretty clear that my number one goal is to get that sub 3:30. I’ve been gunning for this goal for a LONG time… too long. I was so close at Grandmas last year before I fell apart in the heat, and am excited to make it happen on Monday. It WILL happen.
So, instead, I’m going to talk about my race strategy. Fun fact: I’ve never had a negative split marathon. I’ve always done the fly or die strategy, which, while it feels good for the first 17ish miles on the race, makes you feel terrible for the last 10 miles… and also makes it pretty impossible to hit your PR.
Boston makes it tough to not fly or die, to be honest. In case you aren’t familiar, here is the race profile:
Yes, see all that downhill? It’s so fun to run, but it makes it really hard to hold back the first few miles which is SO important because you need to conserve that energy for your last miles. The four out of four times I’ve run Boston, I’ve done terrible at this.
On Monday, I’m aiming to:
Run smart (miles 1-8)
The first three miles are the hardest because there’s so much excitement and it’s downhill. Plus, this year, I’m in the first corral for my wave! That’s going to be an awesome experience, but so hard to not go crazy.
I feel like it takes me a good five or six miles to fall into a groove for running on a normal run, and it usually takes about that in a race. I want to hit 7:59 per mile splits, so during this part of the race, I’ll be fine if I’m around 8-8:05 per mile.
Keep it fun (miles 9-16)
I love this part of the marathon. It’s usually when I’m feeling the best (minus when I’ve undertrained for a few races and end up hitting the wall around mile 10… yeah, that makes for a fun second half of the race…), and just have a love fest with marathoning, running and everything in between. So, time to embrace the fun and stay focused on enjoying it while I feel good. During this part of the race, I’ll be aiming to hit between 7:55-8:00 per mile.
Own the mile (miles 17-20)
These are my toughest miles in any race… I generally start to mentally fall apart during any point during these three miles, and Boston makes it a bit tougher because this is where you hit the Newtons, which you finish off with Heartbreak. These hills shouldn’t feel like anything crazy considering what I’ve been training on, but I know it’ll still be a challenge on tired legs.
I love the “own the mile” phrase, which I picked up at last year’s Twin Cities Marathon thanks to a Brooks shirt I grabbed at the expo. This mantra reminds me to focus on the mile I’m in, rather than thinking about how much I have left in the race and how much it hurts. Focusing on just THIS MILE at my pace makes it seem that much more achievable.
During this part of the race, I’ll be aiming to hit between 7:55-8:00 per mile.
Dig in (miles 21-25)
This is the part that I ALWAYS fail at. This is when things get tough during a marathon —> and it just hurts. I don’t even know how to describe the pain, but everything hurts. Your feet, your knees, your shins, your hamstrings, your sides, even your lungs a little bit. It’s so easy to give in to the pain… I know this because I’ve done this in pretty much every marathon. I’ve been working hard on building my mental strength and my focus, and this race will be different. I love this part of the Boston Marathon –> it’s when you run by the college kids, who have been drinking for several hours at this point and are pretty out of control (I think it was 2013 when someone proposed to me as I ran by… haha). Time to use that energy and dig in to finally use up the energy that I’ve been saving —> during this part of the race, I’ll be aiming to hit between 7:50-7:55 per mile.
Victory lap (miles 25-26)
Once you see the Citgo sign, you know that it’s almost over… you have 1.5 miles to go, and that’s when the crowds are starting to get super thick. At this point, digging in will feel easy —> it’s time to push it to the finish. Right on Hereford//left on Boylston to the finish. During this part of the race, I want to go my fastest pace —> anything below 7:50.
So, there you have it! My 2017 Boston Marathon race strategy. I feel like it’s a solid plan that focuses on conserving energy, enjoying the race and pushing my boundaries, which traditionally I’ve struggled at doing. Only a few days to put it into action!
Any tips to make my race strategy a reality?
Mental strength: give me your best advice! What do you do to push through the pain?
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