Sunday, November 13, 2011

How Not to Run a Marathon

Many of my faithful readers followed me online or on Twitter last Sunday when I raced the ING New York Marathon (thanks for that!). 

There's a reason that I get my athletes to always take a day or two after a big event before they start reflecting and writing their race report.  Quite often, our first reactions after a race aren't the best.  For me, my execution at the New York Marathon was so bass-akwards that, despite the final time of 2:56 (only 2 minutes off my PB) it felt terrible.

If you were following me on Twitter (and if you don't, why the hell not!) you'd have probably seen my tweet that announced this upcoming blog post.

So here it is: "How Not to Run a Marathon (Without Even Caring)"

1.  Make sure that you choose a marathon that is in a city that you've previously never visited, preferably with a long flight where you change at least 2 time zones.  You'll want to tire your legs out in transit and scouting out your new surroundings in the days before the event.

 Crowds, lines, and standing.  Not the best way to rest before a race

 Scouting out the finish line the day before the race

 It doesn't hurt your enthusiasm when you get to register next to the "Competitive" athletes
(and in case you're wondering, these booths went up to 50,000)

The New York Marathon divides racers into different Villages to organize the start of the race.
Of course, I was in the Orange Village

2.  Take lots of photos, especially those that help you visualize just how freakin' long the race course is

and that's just the first 16 miles

3.  If available, visit the Official Race Expo and be sure to partake in any screenings of Official Race Videos developed to pump up the enthusiasm of all viewers.  The more the video takes you through each section of the race, explaining the significance of running through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Manhattan, the better

4.  You know what they say, "The early bird gets the worm."  Rise 4 or 5 hours before the race start, have very little for breakfast, then take buses and shuttles to the race start.  Sit on a curb trying to stay warm all morning, and if you have to get up (to get coffee, use the washroom, etc) be sure to spend the next 30 minutes walking around to find another place to sit down, because someone's inevitably taken your old spot
5.  Oh, and do this while surrounded by 10,000 other racers, so that when it's finally an hour until your race start, you don't have the room to do any type of warmup.  Marathons run when your body is completely cold are the best!

6.  Once the race starts, be sure to get caught up in the emotion of the event.  This is the only way to success.  Lots of racers, and thousands of spectators cheering you on.  You'll soon realize that whatever "race plan" you had to run the marathon will be thrown right out the window (or right off the nearest bridge)

 From Brooklyn to Manhattan, thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer on the event.  Amazing!

To add to your experience, arrange for a police officer to pull right in front of your wife 
when she's taking a photo of you.  The resulting shot will be amazingly out of focus

Elizabeth's money shot.  Lighting, action, intensity, it's all there!

7.  A marathon is 26.2 miles, but it's also 42.2 kilometers.  For optimal success, never be quite certain which split your watch is giving you.  Also be convinced that the GPS is slightly off.

Orange was everywhere, but why was this guy running with a backpack?


 8.  For extra encouragement, make sure that your Race of Choice is sponsored by a company whose key branding happens to be your colour of choice as well.  That way, lots of racers around you will be racing in your favourite colour!

Okay, I'll be honest, I was no where near these guys

9.  You yourself, however, must choose a selection of running shoes, compression sleeves, and racing singlet that make you look like a sad victim of the 1986 Movie "Rainbow War"

Definitely not my styliest moment,
but making the choice to pin my name to my jersey meant
everyone on course was cheering for Doug from Vancouver

10.  Once you're finished, you ask yourself - Self, what would I change if I were to do this all over again?  If you answer - Not a single thing - you know you've done it right!
On the way to the finish in Central Park.  You can't see it, but it's hurting, 
and it has for about 6 miles

 But, like a good trooper, we went out to watch other runners once I was done

If tourism marathoning is at all something you're interested in, I highly recommend running New York.  You probably won't get your best time (if you get in via the Lottery, you'll probably be surrounded by 2000 runners at all times), but if you treat it as an exciting experience, I promise you that you'll have the time of your life!

~ liquid

1 comment:

  1. Well said, this pretty much sums up my experience as well (well everything except running a 2:56 marathon!!) Good job!