Earlier this week, I had a solo 4 miler. The day was freaking gorgeous...a sports bra and shorts kind of day. If I had shaved my pits, the shirt would have been off. That morning, I was trying to think of a way to pass the time during my run in order to get my mind in race mode. I decided that 4 miles would equal 4 phases of my race. I grabbed a scrap sheet of paper and wrote down my plan!
As I was running, I dedicated a mile to each phase. While running that mile, I memorized my plan for that phase and gave it a name. I knew that if I felt completely comfortable with my plan, it would make it easier to adjust if something went wrong during the race.
Lisa's Marathon Phases:
- The Warm Up Phase [miles 1-7]. I figured out through training this year that it takes me a few miles to feel good...usually 6ish miles. I decided to give myself an extra warm up mile in this phase just in case I needed it. I will take a pre-race gel in addition to taking one at mile 4. I'm following the same gel plan as Flying Pig since it seemed to work for me. My only change is adding salt tabs (taking my first at mile 6). I'm hoping to prevent some of that crazy cramping that I started getting during my last full.
- The Fun Phase [miles 8-half marathon]. This is the phase in which I should feel REALLY good. I'm warmed up and my pace should feel easy. If it doesn't, my mental needs to kick in a bit more! Indy offers a gel at 8.5 miles. I'll take 1-2 salt tabs at the halfway point.
- The Relaxation Phase [half marathon-20]. This is when things may start to get tight and race pace might start to become a reality. I'll be reminding myself that I just need to relax my body and run. The course offers another gel at mile 15. Then I'll probably take my last one around mile 19 in addition to tabs around 20. I should know by the end of this phase how much gas I have left in the tank. This will determine my plan for the last phase.
- The All or Nothing Phase [miles 20-26.2]. If I feel decent at 20 miles (WHO FEELS DECENT AT 20 MILES?! LOL.), I will try my best to rock out the last 10k...the hardest part of the race. Hardest mentally and physically. This is where the heart takes over. Your head is telling you that you want to give up/die/barf/etc., but your heart must be stronger. It will remind you of all the hard months of training, of all the people who are cheering you on. It will remind you of your goals. It will punch you in the gut and remind you what you are made of...the last 10k is all heart. I have no plans to take a gel during this phase unless I feel like total crap. I will take salt tabs as needed based on cramping and tightening of my muscles. I will envision the finish line and (based on Amanda's advice) take this phase 2 miles at a time. Two miles is nothing, right?!
Do you guys put your races into phases/sections?