The days are becoming shorter, the temps are beginning to drop, and the leaves are starting to turn. These signs of fall compel many people to order pumpkin spice lattes and go apple-picking in the suburbs. But for us at Mile High Run Club, this means marathon season is here!
After the Berlin and London marathons the past two weekends, the Chicago Marathon takes place this Sunday, immediately followed by the Boston Marathon on Indigenous People’s Day and one month out from the LA and New York City marathons on November 7.
Whether you are training for a fall marathon this year or in the future (there is no other option), we have five top tips to help you run smarter and achieve your goals.
1. Know the course: Adapt your training based on the race course. If there are hills, eat hills for breakfast. If there are turns, run the tangents better than Pythagoras. And if you’re local to the race, train on the course to be mentally and physically ready and make molehills out of mountains!
2. Remember your nutrition: Have a nutrition plan for the race and stick to it. Practice it during training, using fluids, electrolytes, energy gels, and even caffeine for an extra boost. Know how to carry your fuel on race day and where the aid stations will be. Let your gut guide you to glory!
3. Have a mantra: Use a running mantra that speaks to you, such as Coach Kara’s “Keep going” or Coach Leslie’s “Run the mile you’re in.” During the race, recite your mantra out loud when it gets tough. You should use your mantra during your final training runs so on race day you have a positive association. Each time you repeat it, your mind and body will respond and stay on track. Change your thinking, and you’ll change your performance!
4. Set two goals: Set an ambitious goal and a more achievable one. Your ambitious goal could be a certain time. Your achievable one could be a more realistic time or just to finish and feel strong! Having 2 goals allows you to manage factors out of your control, like the weather being warm in Chicago. Goal-setting increases motivation and improves performance, so ask your Mile High coaches to help you crush your goals.
5. Embrace the taper: Runners don’t rest, they taper! Tapering means reducing running volume in the last weeks before a race, allowing your body’s energy, strength, and health to return to optimal levels. Listen to your body and focus on getting to the start healthy. Your last hard run can be a High 45 class or short tempo one week out. Just keep calm and taper on!
You will get a lot more advice from coaches, runners, pets, and memes on how to prepare for your next marathon but don’t put any single race on a pedestal... unless your name is Eliud Kipchoge and you’re trying to win the whole thing! The only one judging your performance is yourself. Trust your training and get excited for an amazing and memorable race!