3 keys for race plan at Grandma's
Disclaimer: I received free entry to Grandma's Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro by going to https://www.bibrave.com/bibravepro. Find more race reviews like this one at www.bibrave.com.
Get to start line early and do dynamic stretches
As I recalled the races I've had the best results in over the last couple of years, I found one thing in common: I arrived at the start line early and was able to go through the process of warming up for about 1/4 to 1/2 mile, which I then followed with a set of dynamic stretches that helped me loosen up my body. This routine not only had my body as ready as possible to go at start time, but I feel that also eliminated some of the typical pre-race nerves that have a tendency to creep up as that time nears. With Grandma's I will be catching a bus provided by the race to the start line, so I am thankful I won't have to worry about having to drive or deal with parking at that time. I should be able to hop on the bus, listen to my music, and just get into the zone for my warmup routine.
Ease into target pace
I have made the mistake of starting out too fast during races. On those occasions, I believe I had been thinking too much and stressing about a particular finish time and what it would take to hit it, so I pressed too much in the early miles. I ended up paying the price, not being able to sustain it through the end, actually seeing it get worse and worse as the miles increased. For this race, I have a good idea and know what my target race pace feels like, and I am perfectly fine with easing into it. During my training I noticed that almost without exception, my first mile to mile and a half, my pace is slower as I warm up and get into a good rhythm. Once I find that efficient rhythm, the pace gets better and into a nice comfort zone. So for this race, I plan to follow what my training showed me and not worry about my pace and time is for the first mile or two. I will just be patient and find my efficient rhythm. Experience has taught me that if I can do that, I should be able to then sustain that pace for much longer and finish the race strong and on a very positive note.
Carry my own hydration
Even though the race is providing plenty of hydration stations throughout the course, I have decided that I truly need to use the hydration/nutrition fuel that I have tried and used enough to where I am confident that my stomach and muscles will handle it the right way during the race. Over the last 3 months of training I have tinkered with a number of hydration products and experienced mixed results. Some were great, some not so much. The one that came out on top and that I will be using for Grandma's was the one that I had the best results with, Infinit Nutrition's Jet Fuel. I will be carrying a handheld bottle with it; not only do I like its taste but also feel that my body reacts to it in a very positive way --- with consistent energy throughout the distance and without any spikes or drops in energy.
Another thing I love about it is that it eliminates the need to carry and consume energy gels or bars, so it makes things easier for me with one less things to worry about logistically. Perhaps even more important, I didn't experience any muscle cramps when using it, which is something that has plagued me for years and I hope to eliminate permanently with its help.
So, wish me luck, here's to a great race at Grandma's!