With approximately 10 days left until race day, you can be assured the marathon will start to occupy more space in your mind. Not that it doesn’t occupy enough space already (you’ve been training for months after all), but as the reality of race day approaches you’ll start to think about it more and more. While everyone has unique thoughts “running” through their mind as race day approaches, in my experience there are always a few items that seem to occupy space in every marathoner’s mind.
The Weather Forecast
As today is Saturday April 9th, the 10-day forecast leading up to race day is now available. Yes, maybe you’ve consulted the Old Farmers Almanac, but I’m a bit more pragmatic when it comes to the weather forecast, and 10 days is about as far out as I go.
With the 10-day forecast now available this enables you to see, with relative accuracy, what race day conditions will look like. This will certainly drive what gear you’ll want to bring not only for the race, but also to the athlete’s village in Hopkinton. Trust me, the athlete’s village can get pretty chilly, as its still mid-April here in New England, so prepare accordingly. Additionally, the forecast may also determine plans around your overall race strategy in terms of how you’ll approach the course. What I mean here is that a prediction of 85 and sunny requires a much different race day strategy than a prediction of 45 and rain. No one can deny the fact that weather plays a huge factor when running a marathon and the forecast in the days leading up to race day can have a big impact on your psyche.
Your Physical Condition
You’ve spent the past several months getting your body prepared for race day and are very likely in some of the best shape of your life. Therefore, how you feel physically in the days leading up to race day definitely starts to occupy more and more space in your mind.
It’s during this time that I often embark on what I like to call “validation runs.” These are not necessarily long runs, but rather runs aimed at just keeping me physically in-tune; making sure that all is well with my body. What I often find fun about these runs is that I’ll look to run 10 or 14 miles, and while I may have felt something at these distances several months ago, when I run them know, it’s as if I’m running just a 5k. These runs definitely help me to validate that I’m physically ready for race day.
On the flipside, you often do become slightly more aware of any issues that have been nagging you. Depending on what they are, it may be worthwhile getting them looked into or at the very least taking some sort of corrective action to address them. The key here is to acknowledge, not ignore, them as these kinds of issues can weigh heavily on the mind in the days leading up to race day.
Your Mental Condition
Whether you realize it or not, over the past several months you have not only been physically preparing for race day, but mentally preparing for it as well. When you think about it, the act of simply preparing to run 26.2 miles is a pretty amazing feat. Therefore, training for a marathon is much more than just about getting your body physically prepared for the act of running 26.2 miles; it’s also about getting your mind prepared to run this distance as well.
In the days leading up to race day, I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how I’ll approach the race and its various components. In my opinion, your mental condition leading up to race day is simply tied to the notion of being “ready” to run the race. What I mean here, is that your mental condition is directly tied to your level of self confidence about being prepared for race day and what it will throw at you. At this juncture, while it’s perfectly normal to have pre-race jitters, I will say that based on all that you have done to prepare for this moment, and no matter what’s going though your mind, as long as you can say you're “ready”, you’re good to go.
As race day approaches, be sure to think about and prep for what is going to be a truly amazing day. Race day in Boston is truly a unique experience…the crowds, the course, the energy, your fellow runners, all will impact you in ways that no amount of training and foresight can really touch. With this being said, no matter what the weather forecast says, no matter how you’re feeling or what kind of thoughts are running through your head, if there is one thought that should occupy your mind in the coming days, it’s that you are about to run the granddaddy of them all, the most talked about race of 2011; you’re about to run…THE BOSTON MARATHON!!!
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes