On Monday April 18, I will be running my 22nd marathon, my 3rd Boston! I am absolutely thrilled to have this privilege. My training is done, I’m tapering, carbo loading and going a little nuts cutting down on my mileage! But, I will be so happy when Monday is here!
Here are a couple little tips that I have learned over the past few years of marathoning! Enjoy!
- MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE- you MUST overuse BodyGlide…everywhere….any place you think there could be friction, under arms (for women all around sports bras where they connect with skin), inner thighs, around waist, on feet- all over, toes, heels. If you are wearing an arm band or fuel belt at any connections with the skin. At the waistband. Just everywhere. Use half the stick- you will never ever regret it and you will know around mile 20 where you missed! Any place where fabric meets skin that is snug, yet can move just a little! The warmer the weather, smaller the clothing choices, greater the need for BodyGlide!
- TEST YOUR FUELING CHOICES- do not take Gatorade or Powerade/Gu/ShotBlocks/oranges/candy from strangers- anything that you have not tested again and again- over and over in training. There are some additives and preservatives in the drinks and gels that act as laxatives on the digestive system and affect many runners. Have a plan for fueling whether you carry your drinks and energy eats in your belt or you have friends and family meet you with your favorites along the course.
- BE VERY CONSERVATIVE EATING YOUR “LAST SUPPER” PRE-MARATHON. Fuel up in the days leading up to the marathon. The night before does not mean you have a license to eat anything and everything. Be a little more conservative- light on the heavies- sauces, fats, too much of anything. You are better off with a bigger meal 2 nights prior to the marathon.
- HAVE YOUR CLOTHES, EXTRA CLOTHES, NUMBER, BELTS, FUEL, SNEAKERS, HATS, SECOND OPTION IN CASE THE WEATHER CHANGE- IT IS NEW ENGLAND, WE CAN GO FROM SNOW TO 80 IN 7 HOURS – EVERYTHING IS LAID OUT AND READY, YOUR WATCH IS CHARGED the night before. And ready to go. And tested no extra tags, chafing. No fancy last minute additions – if you wear a tutu, you have tested it! I have waited to debut a new watch the day of a marathon… when I couldn’t get a signal – just no, don’t do it!!
- KNOW WHERE YOUR FANS/FAMILY WILL BE! Boston’s second half is (to say it nicely) BRUTAL! I always position one my family viewing points for Boston right around Newton Wellesley Hospital with an Elmo balloon and some candy for me and I always end up crying my eyes out because I know they will be there, I’ve just finished a physically challenging portion of the race and am getting ready for the most physically and mentally demanding part of the course – this is a place where we have just crossed over a hill that nobody talks about- getting folks over the 128 bridge and to the fire station where they will start the ascent up the Newton Hills. Some years, I have felt amazing here, smiling- high-fiving. But, I have also been in tears and completely distraught at this point, depending on the year, knowing what I had coming up in front of me. I have always used a mantra in races where I know I would see friends and family, “Six miles until Chrissy and the kids” and then “Four more miles to Jack and Alex” and then “Ten miles until my dad and Nicole” on and on. You will be emotional, so very happy to see them and they will keep you going long after the signs and hugs and high fives. The feeling that I get seeing friends and family along a marathon course is unmatched and I certainly hope that they know this- it inspires me, heals me, pushes me, makes me feel loved and appreciated and gets me through the next group of miles, however long they might be! I have also run marathons without cheering sections and have relied on those out on the course to help me keep going. Write your name somewhere on you in BIG LETTERS so folks will yell it out to you on the course. You have no idea how much this will mean to you until a BU student screams your name on Commonwealth at the exact moment you were going to start walking and feeling bad for yourself!
- TRUST YOUR TRAINING. No need to do 100m repeats the week prior to the marathon. This is an injury waiting to happen. No speedwork- this can wait until after the race! Trust what you have worked through all winter. And, if you skipped a couple workouts, who cares- our friends that ran in 2015 endured that winter and all of those icy runs/cancelled runs/treadmill delegated 20 milers! You put in the miles that you could. Be sure that you are comfortable with your pace! There are plenty of websites to consult on pace based on your last 20-22 miler or an earlier race. Try this Mcmillan running pace calculator and be honest with your training and pacing!
- BRING TOILET PAPER OR PAPER TOWELS, JUST A FEW to Boston especially if you are in the 4th WAVE. Just do it. Trust me. The toilet paper in the porta-potties will be LONG GONE! And, DEFINITELY sneak into that last group of potties right before you get into the corrals- I promise you, that last little pee is worth the 25 seconds before getting into the coral! Otherwise, you will spend your first 5 miles in Hopkinton looking for a wooded area to jump out on- and the guys will totally do this- the gals, we ALL stress! I’ve suffered, ran onto beaches, into Dunkin’ Donuts, Miami gas stations- JUST TAKE THE LAST PORTA POTTY stop with the paper towel you brought from home- best investment in the next four hours you have EVER made!
- ENJOY – Boston is a privilege, a celebration, an honor – give the high fives, the hugs and ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!