And the countdown begins!

30 Days til Marathon Monday

One Month Until the 115th Boston Marathon!

It’s March 18th, which means the Boston Marathon is only 4 weeks away from today!  This is the dream that’s been floating around in my mind and heart for so many weeks, months and “mamma mia” I can’t believe I’m a month away from actually  running the 115th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18th…..my heart just skipped a beat writing this sentence!  I am getting very excited!

It’s just crazy after all this time, the Boston Marathon is really finally approaching.  I still have a lot of work to do in training, but knowing that it’s getting closer is definitely pumping me up for the final training push.

To provide a better pre-race and starting experience for the runners, the Boston Athletic Association announced  that a third wave will be used at the start of this year’s event.  Each wave will include approximately 9,000 runners.

The start times (approx. number in parentheses):
9 a.m.: mobility impaired (6)
9:17 a.m.: wheelchair division (30)
9:22 a.m.: handcycles (24)
9:32 a.m.: elite women (50)
10 a.m.: elite men and wave 1 (color-coded red)
10:20 a.m.: wave 2 (white)
10:40 a.m.: wave 3 (blue)

I will be starting with Wave 2 at 10: 20 AM wearing a white bib and my lucky number is 12344…pretty easy to remember ah!

My Bib Number 12344

Banner Day

Okay, you know it’s officially Boston Marathon season when the official banners are hung. Today , four-time champion Bill Rodgers put up the first 2011 banner that will adorn the Boston streets through Marathon Monday. With the help of principal sponsor John Hancock Financial Services, the banner program has become an annual reminder to Bostonians that Spring is in the air, and the Boston Marathon is around the corner.

Bill Rodgers helping putting up the banners

I still have no confirmed race day attire (starting to stress about that), but I definitely need new running shoes, so I’ll have to make a very serious trip to the the Running Room this weekend so I will have the time to wear them at least a couple of weeks before race day.  And this is true for clothing as well.  Race day is not the time for new shoes, new clothing, or even new food or drinks, anything else you haven’t done on several training runs.  Stick with a routine that works for you or the result may be blisters or chafing. As Patti Finke says ” NO NEW IS GOOD NEW”.

However, you can experiment on your long runs.  Your many long runs during the build up to the marathon are the perfect opportunity to try something new and different.  Things you should experiment before Marathon day:

Accessories

  1. Shoes. You need to determine which shoe works best for you. Regardless of which shoe you wear, you should make certain the shoe feels completely comfortable on your long runs. And that it still has plenty of cushioning and support for the marathon. If that’s not the case you shoul buy a new pair of the exact same model at least two weeks before the race.
  2. Socks. Determine which type of socks—thin, thick, double layers, CoolMax—works best for you, it’ s the most comfortable and that there is not a blister problem.
  3. Clothing. Depending on the weather, experiment with the various clothes combinations you might wear to determine how much to wear. Any article of clothing should be worn several times before you wear it in a marathon. Never wear anything in the marathon that you buy at the marathon expo the day before.
  4. Skin lubrication. If you have chafed on prior long runs, try using a lubricant such as Body Glide or Vaseline to see if it helps in any problem areas.

Nutrition

  1. Pre-race nutrition. The night before your long run is the time to try different carbohydrate-rich dishes and see which works the best the next day.  Also, few hours before your long run you should eat some carbohydrate-rich foods and easily digestible foods like a banana, bagel with almond butter or cereal. This will help you determined exactly what to eat  the night before and the morning of the marathon.
  2. Hydration. You should make absolutely certain you are properly hydrated before you even start.  Begin hydrating the day before and drink about eight ounces of water the morning prior to your long run.  Also, drink lots of fluids while running.  I usually try to have a sip of water every  three to four mile.
  3. Energy gel supplements. Experimenting with different energy gels and be sure to chase these supplements down with water to avoid stomach cramps and insure absorption.  If you are like me and your stomach can’t tolerate energy gels try out with pretzels(good also to replenish the salt you are loosing sweating), gummy bears or a bar.
  4. Caffeine. I personally  have a cup of coffee before every run and I’ve never have any issues tolerating a cup before prior long runs or races.  However, if you are not used to it do not try it on Marathon day.

Marathon pace strategy

There are many different pacing strategies, including negative splits, positive splits, even pacing, even effort, front running, strong start/middle float, middle push/strong finish and surging.  Whatever you decide to utilize it should be practiced several times during long runs.

Here is a great article about pacing strategies from Runner’s World.

You should plan in advance your race pace and splits.  I have few favorites, The McMillan Running Calculator, Runner’s Web, Coolrunning.

Let’s get to practice now! Good luck!

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