Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Time Marathoner OR Long Time Marathoner - General Advice from a Great Coach: Sean Wade

As a person who has been training with Kenyan Way since the Spring of 2007 and have done many marathons while under the watchful eye of Sean Wade, I am use to weekly emails, sometimes more than once a week, and it being marathon week, well you get all kinds of wise information.

I thought I would share what appeared in my inbox (just copy, pasted and maybe fixed it up a bit for cosmetic reasons only) for future reference and for anyone googling for advice for the week leading into their own marathon, wherever that may be...you may notice where some of my advice comes from...I basically live and breathe Kenyan Way, and his way is bred into me now....

If Kenyan Way had a color, I'd bleed it....  :O)

From Sean Wade/Kenyan Way Trainer/Coach/Masters Runner/Elite Runner Extradonaire!

If this is your first marathon, you should be conservative in your goal finish time.
Until you experience miles 20-26 in an actual race you will not know how your body is going to react.

You should negative split the race by starting out easy and only increasing your effort in the last 6 miles.

You can be feeling great at mile 15 but by mile 21, everything can change if you have not conserved your energy during the first half of the race.

No matter how good you feel do not pick up the pace until the last 4-6 miles.

It is easy to forget to stay hydrated in cooler weather.

I guarantee most of you are dehydrated right now.

Be sure to drink fluids throughpout the days leading up to race day - if you pee twice in an hour then that is probably a good sign that you are hydrated.

The secret to marathon preparation at this point is the ability to stay relaxed.

You need to treat the marathon as another 20 mile training run and a 6.2 mile race. 

The last 6 miles will determine whether you have a great race or not.

You need to stay relaxed in the days leading up to the race, especially the 24 hours preceding the race.

Try to treat it as just another training run with a hard last 6 miles.

Fast Start
Do not try to put time in the bank early by running the first part of the race quicker than your goal pace.  This is one certain way to risk having a very bad race.  The pace of the first few miles will likely be determined by the runners around you.  If you find that you are 30-40 seconds behind your needed pace don't try to make that time up immediately.  Use the next 8-10 miles to run 5 seconds faster per mile to make it up.  Running as close as possible to your goal mile pace every mile is the key.

No matter how good you might feel, do not pick up the pace until you hit the 22 mile mark.

Remember, you are running 26 miles so you should feel great at miles 13-15.

The race does not start until mile 20.

With the reduction in mileage this week, you do not need to increase the size of your meals in order to carbo load. 
I usually just have pasta  for lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday along with a high carbohydrate drink on Friday and Saturday.

Expect to put on a few pounds in the week before the race.   (NOT ME COACH!!! NOT ME!!!)

Have a low fat carbohydrate snack when you go to bed the night before the race.  Eat your usual pre-long run meal along with a carbohydrate drink before the race.

I know many of you are fitter than you have ever been before.

Every year I see improved fitness levels wasted because runners set a goal time that is way faster than their previous fastest time.

You must be realistic when setting your goal time.

Don't go for the home run and strike out instead!

I would rather see a 10 minute improvement in your time than you going for a 30 minute improvement and then ending up not setting a personal best.

You need to know the pace per mile required to reach your goal time.

You need to run as many of the those miles at as close to that pace as possible.
Do not try to make up for lost time during the race.

If you run a mile slower than goal marathon pace don't try to make it up in the next mile -  just hit goal marathon pace on the next mile and you can try making up for lost time in the last 4 miles of the race.

Check the forecast as you get closer to marathon day and adjust your times goals accordingly.

Absolutely do not try for your goal time is the weather is not co-operating.  

If the weather is terrible then just run the marathon as a training run and jog it , especially if you have serious time goals you want to reach.

You will need to run another marathon and should not waste your energy on an all out effort  which is doomed to fail because of bad weather conditions
It could be cool on race day so you need to be warm at the start and stay warm.

You should dress in layers so that you can disgard items along the way.

If it does warm up during the run and you have gloves on,  keep those gloves with you in case it gets cold later in the race.

If you did not get a tyvek jacket that we were selling you should get one.

We are actually running low on sizes for these jackets so if you don't get one from us, you should be able to pick one up at the Expo (although I am sure they will be a lot more expensive)  

There is an old farm saying that goes, “The hay is in the barn.”  What this refers to is that there is a time when a farmer cuts his hay, bales it up, drives it to the barnyard, and stacks it in the barn.  When this is done, he sighs a huge sigh of relief because he knows that the animals have feed for the winter.

The same applies to your race  - your “hay” is in the barn.  You have done all the training up to this point and have earned the right to celebrate your skills on this important day.  Don’t try to sneak in any more training or try something different at the last minute

Trust that your body and mind are ready to compete and enjoy the race.
While others may be distracted by weather or the conditions of a track or course, you should stay focused and just do what you came to do. Distractions use energy - conserve that energy for the race.  Stay on task by visualizing yourself running strong and fast.
Great athletes do not predict their next move or action based on their last failure.  They stop, do a little positive self talk, replay a great race in their head, and perform in the way they know they are capable.  Hanging on to a less than stellar event will affect your performance.  Recalling a successful race will help you perform at your peak.
We are good at visualizing great race strategies and seeing ourselves move up through the pack but what we also need to do is prepare ourselves for those times when our bodies throw us a “glitch”. 

This might include a potty break, muscle spasm, a side ache, a fall or a slow start.  Visualize this and then see yourself recover from it immediately.  Having this image will help put you back on the path to success without losing ground or wasting energy.

Garmin Settings

Be sure to have your Garmin on your wrist when you leave the house. Duh!
Be sure your Garmin is fully charged. Duh!Be sure your Garmin is set for the light to stay on - not go off after 15 seconds. It will be dark when you start so you don't want to go out 1 minute per mile too fast and ruin your race right there.   (NOTE:  JunieB does not do this because it drains the battery more...and if I lose my battery during a marathon I am gonna be pissed!!)

I race with two lines on the watch so it is easy to read. 
top line - lap pace - this shows you your current mile pace
bottom line - previous lap pace - this shows you the mile you just ran. 

(NOTE: JunieB does NOT do this either..)
These are the two most accurate setting to have on your watch.
You could also have another screen with average pace.
This would give you your average mile pace for the entire run.
Don't rely on this 100% as sometimes the Garmin will read 2 seconds faster per mile than you are actually running. 


Bert said...

The best advice I ever got - which was from Sean Wade - was to go all out on the last mile, especially if you are going for a BQ time or a PR. I did (in 2007 @ Houston) making mile #26 the fastest of any of them and in the process qualifying for Boston by 1 SECOND! Of course you have to run conservatively with very even splits until that point, just to be able to speed up that late in the race.

Melissa said...

great advice. I need to remind myself of some of the items again.

On the Garmin stuff, I do none of that except the charge and wear, lol