Steamtown Marathon Diary: Preparing the Mind

After months of training, piling on hundreds of miles, enduring dozens of workouts, tearing through running shoes in no time, it all comes down this. From a physical standpoint, I’ve done nearly everything I can for the marathon. What I need to do over the next week is steel my mind and mentally prepare myself for the hardship ahead. Running 26.2 miles is no small task and it is a whole different animal from any races I’ve done before, even my half-marathon.

I awoke early this morning (early for me equals about 7:45) and went to Mellow Park for my last long run. It was chilly in the morning, barely 50 degrees, but the cool temperatures coupled with the changing leaves made me realize autumn has truly come, and I couldn’t be happier. I did a simple out and backer and once again ran parts of the Steamtown course, working out potential strategies all the way.

Strategy. That’s something I haven’t discussed much. For most of my running career, I’ve been a “just go out and run” kind of racer. I don’t put much thought into strategy aside from “go out a little slow, but stay in contact and then kick hard.” However, given the sheer length of the marathon, and downhill nature of Steamtown, strategy becomes more important.

I’ll work things out more conclusively over the next week, study the course and look its elevation charts. And I will gradually go to bed earlier and earlier each night as I prepare for waking at roughly 5:30 AM the morning of the race. Furthermore, I need to work out where I want friends and family to have water or energy gels, as well where I might want to shed gloves or other excess layers. Still a lot of planning to do, but I should be ready. The last thing to do is….have fun! I’m not going to get overly worked up or nervous about the race, or at least I’ll try not to. I run better when I’m loose and relaxed. With all that said, I wrap up the penultimate entry of my Steamtown Marathon Diary. Though it may be a platitude, the time really has flown by. Check back next week to see if I can complete my first marathon and hit my final goal time of 2:45.




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