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One of the great things about running is the chance to continually learn new things and push past personal boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you can only run 1 mile or if you’ve finished 20 marathons. You need to continue to learn and grow.
I recently ran the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY. This race has been on my radar for a long time because I heard that the course is both beautiful and conducive to setting a PR (personal record).
Over the summer I trained harder and smarter than ever before and I’m glad to say my hard work paid off. I managed to finished in 3 hours and 44 minutes. This is my fastest time yet.
Here is some advice that is applicable whether you’ll be racing your first 5k or trying to PR in the marathon.
1. There will be challenges leading up to race day. It’s very rare that everything will be sunshine and roses. I dealt with some personal challenges leading up to the Wineglass Marathon. Some of these difficulties included hip pain, an unwise toenail removal, and rain on race day.
2. Have a race day plan. Make sure you’ve thought through your race strategy and tested your fueling plan. Have a good idea of where the aid stations and port-a-pots will be.
- Gear: Wear well-tested, fitted clothes in rainy weather. Throw away gear is also a great idea in cooler weather. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I used an old sweat shirt and put mismatched socks on my hands for warmth.
- Fueling: While training for this marathon I’ve implemented a new fueling strategy that I talked about on the podcast “Don’t Make These Fueling Mistakes.” One newer thing that I did was to not eat before the marathon. It felt a little weird getting to the starting line with an empty stomach. About 5 minutes before the start I had a Hammer gel and carried gels and Perpetuem solids with me. I had great steady energy and was very happy with my fueling plan.
- Establish if you’ll take walk breaks during the race. Plan these stops and make them intentional not random. Only walk for a predetermined amount of time because it can be very hard to start running again if you don’t have a plan.
3. Seize the Day even if you’re a reserved person. Don’t look back and regret that you didn’t try your hardest. I’m not naturally an outgoing person, but I’m starting to learn to seize opportunities and put myself out there. I debated whether or not I should commit to the 3:45 pacing group. Then I realized that I didn’t have anything to lose. I‘m so glad that I seized the day and made my goal.
4. Stay mentally strong. I can’t overemphasize how important your mental strength is. Your body can go the distance if you keep your mind in the right place and visualize your success. Never give up no matter how tired your legs feel. Celebrate the miles behind you instead of dreading the miles ahead. In the final six, unleash your mantra. My personal mantra for this marathon was, “Go Big or Go Home!” I know it’s not very original but it worked.
Here are a Few Photos from the Race
Running great Dick Beardsley was signing books at the pre-race expo. Dick’s legendary race against Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon is chronicled in the book Duel in the Sun.
The Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY, is known for being an easy race to set a personal record. Corning is home to the Corning Museum of Glass – every finisher receives a wine glass and small bottle of Champagne.
My sister Autum (left) finished the Wineglass Marathon in 4:35. This is a great finishing time in light of her spotty training this summer. Sometimes your mind can carry you when your body can’t.
Quick tip: Pacing Groups Rock!
Find the pacers booth at the expo and figure out a realistic time goal for your marathon. Look at the time it took you to do your 20 mile long run and you’ll be able to get an estimate of your finishing time.
- Line up with the pacing group at the starting line.
- Stick closely to the pace group. Remember that they won’t be able to wait for you if you linger at aid stations or use the port-a-pots.
- Talk to people in your group. It will help pass the time, you’ll meet some great people, and it will give you encouragement in the rough patches.