Some things I’ve learned.
Logistics of the Streets
- If it’s sunny out and you’re in a location with no trees, look for shade from the buildings on the road.
- Some roads are very cambered for drainage. Try to run as close to the middle as you can to ease stress on your ankles and knees.
- Get familiar with the course so you can divide it up in your head. For example, the Chicago course is kind of like 3 out-and-backs. There’s also 5 or 6 places you cross over water. Reference points give you something to look for and something to do with your brain.
Pacing and Timing
- If you see somebody running with a pace time goal pinned to their back (e.g., 4:15) — they are not a true pacer. This is their goal time. Most likely, they were wrong. Don’t follow them. True pacers hold signs or balloons.
- Take note of the clock time when you cross the start line so you can subtract that time from the course clocks along the way. This will give you something to do for 5 hours. (Even if you’re wearing a watch.)
Blisters and Chafing
- Body Glide all the things. ALL of them.
- Body Glide’s liquid powder is good for putting all over your feet to prevent blisters.
- Eat breakfast. I try to eat a bagel and a banana before the race.
- If you have a belt that holds GUs in elastic loops, put the GUs in upside-down so they don’t fall out.
- Beer is the best carb refuel you can grab at the finish line.
- Tylenol PM the night before will help your brain turn off from the pre-race jitters.
- Tylenol PM the night after the race will help you sleep through aches and pains.
- If it’s hot: Watch for people with ice — they are few and far between. Grab 2-3 cups of ice and munch it along the way.
- If it’s hot: Put ice under your hat and rub it all over your neck and chest.
- If it’s cold: Wear layers you can shed during the race, but be sure and pack layers to put back on in your gear check.
Got any tips for me?