Running my first marathon I had one goal and that was to finish. It didn’t matter if it took me all day, all I wanted to do was cross that finish line. But… you knew there’d be a but right… But, if you’re a runner then you know you ALWAYS have two goals— Your realistic goal and your goal for if all the stars align properly and you run just right. So, my realistic goal for the Austin Marathon was to finish, but my all-the-stars-align-goal was to finish in under five hours.
At the beginning of the marathon I started just ahead of the 5 hour pace group and vowed to never let them pass me. I don’t particularly like running WITH the pace group as it creates too much pressure in my mind. It’s bad enough running knowing they might be catching me, or might pass me, let alone having them right by my side and then seeing them drift away. Plus that guy holding the stick just makes me nervous. How do they hold that thing for 26.2 miles anyway?
So how did I pace myself for a big race? Well, it’s quite simple really. I knew ahead of time to finish in under 5:00 for the marathon I had to run an average 11:27 pace. My goal from the VERY FIRST step was to keep my pace between 11:00 and 11:30 and never go slower OR faster. At the beginning I held back when I knew I could go faster. Thankfully I did because you inevitably hit the wall at some point and you want it to be as late as possible. Keeping an even keel allows you to get in a groove and not burn out too easily.
When you hit the wall (and you will) you hope that you’ve hovered close enough to the faster end of your pace range (in my case 11:00) than the slower end (11:30) so that there is some room to go a little slower.
When I hit the point where I felt like I just couldn’t go any further my pace plummeted. I was running 12:00+ miles and I feared that my dreams of a 5:00 marathon were over.
I’ve run several races and spent so many of them calculating— If I run a 10:00 mile for the rest of the race then I’ll finish in realistic goal time. Or if I can just kick it up a bit then I can make my all-the-stars-aligned-goal.
Have you ever tried to run and do mental math? Well, let me tell you it’s not fun and you spend a lot of time carrying the one and multiplying by 60 and dividing by pi…. Ok well the pi part isn’t true, but my point is, mental math while running a marathon is hard.
I was so happy I picked up a pace bracelet at the marathon expo. What is a pace bracelet you ask? A pace bracelet (worn on your wrist… obvi) breaks down your splits and helps keep you on track for your goal time.
For example: I had a five hour pace bracelet for the marathon (which means I had to run a 11:27 average) so the pace bracelet would break it down like this.
- Mile 1: 11:27 (total time)
- Mile 2: 22:54
- Mile 3: 34:21 and so on until finally….
- Mile 26.2: 4:59:59
Trust me when I tell you it is so much easier to just look down and see what your total time should be at each of your splits and know how far ahead or behind your goal you really are.
Without my pace bracelet at the Austin Marathon I think I would have just considered my dream of a 5:00 marathon out of reach once I hit that wall. Instead, when I got my second wind, I started glancing at my pace bracelet and realized my goal was still within reach.
So what is my goal for Rock n Roll San Antonio? Well my reasonable goal is to finish better than I did at my last marathon (4:58:19) but my all-the-stars-aligned-goal is to finish in 4:45. And today I ordered 2 PaceTats, one for each arm, with each goal in mind.
What’s a PaceTat ? Take a look at this beauty….
Basically a PaceTat is the same thing as a pace bracelet, but it’s a temporary tattoo. To me, it’s the better than a bracelet because it doesn’t move or spin around and won’t cause chaffing (and let’s face it who needs chance for more chaffing?).
You can get PaceTats in miles or kilometers and you can get them for shorter distances by simply cutting off the tattoo at the appropriate length before applying it.
Each tattoo cost $2.99 and normal shipping is just $0.99. I’ll pay $4 to not have to do mental math any day. If you want to get a PaceTat (and you should) click on over to their website at www.pacetat.com or simply click here. You’ll thank me later.
By the way, I wasn’t asked to or paid to talk about PaceTat. A) I’m not that cool and B) I’m not that lucky. I just simply think the PaceTat is the best thing going and I want you to have the best race possible so I thought I’d share.