This Sunday’s NYRR Marathon Tune-up 18-miler provides excellent practice for on-course techniques in the marathon. Events like these serve as great preparation for what you might wear on race day, too: sneakers, socks, shorts, shirt, bra, etc.
Another key aspect worth practicing on the long training run is water stop navigation. Whether racing or volunteering, I see the same thing: people always go to the first table! My advice: stay in the middle of the road until halfway through the water table then move comfortably toward the table and grab your beverage:
- Prevents wasted time pushing through the logjam to pick up your drink
- Avoid sudden movements/ injury risk caused by the chaos at the front
- Volunteers in the middle and the end are much happier to see you because they have been ignored all day
- When picking up the cup, do NOT pick it up from the side. Grab from the top and pinch the sides to prevent spilling. Continue to pinch the top as you bring the cup to your mouth so liquid does not wind up all over your face.
The old saying in the marathon is “don’t do anything on race day that you did not do in training” and the same goes for liquid consumption. While the Gatorade offered at the table may not be your favorite flavor, it is the liquid available at all water stops on race day so the sooner you adapt, the less likely your stomach will negatively react on race day.
Also, for those experimenting with GU’s, gels, etc., this run provides an excellent opportunity to practice consuming before the table then “chasing it” with your chosen beverage.
As for pacing, my advice is to treat this as a traditional long run (MP + 45-60 seconds per mile) pace with the possibility of increasing the pace over the final couple miles. The Whippet plan contains plenty of runs at marathon pace (or faster) and attempting to run 18 miles at MP would be very difficult and likely wipe you out for a week. At this stage, it is far more important to practice hydration and nutrition at a comfortable pace than it is to run this many miles at marathon pace.
As always, we’re here to help. I’ll be running on Sunday so look forward to seeing many of you out there!