By now, you have a good idea of what pace you should be running at. You have trained hard, and you know what finish time you are aiming for. STICK TO IT. Whether your target pace is six minutes per mile or six minutes per kilometre, try to run the whole race at a consistent pace.
It is incredibly easy to start too fast. You might get carried along by the crowd, the enthusiasm and the adrenaline. You’ll look at your watch after two or three kilometres and think to yourself, “Yeah this is faster than I planned, but I feel great.” THERE’S A LONG WAY TO GO. SLOW DOWN!
Avoid the problem by running at a controlled and consistent pace.
WHAT IF? SO WHAT?
If you are the sort of person that is always waiting for something to go wrong, train your brain to think instead about the solution, and focus on how in control you are.
What if you hit the wall and can’t keep running? So what? Walk for a while, gather your thoughts, take on some nutrition, and go again.
What if you can’t keep to your target pace in the second half? So what? Adjust your goal for the last few kilometres and work towards that new goal.
KEEP YOUR FORM
When it’s hurting, take your mind off the pain by focusing your thoughts around your body. Are your shoulders and back in the right position? Are your arms swinging efficiently? Is your foot striking well? Are you lifting your heels? You can really focus on these things, one at a time, and before you know it, you’re another kilometre closer to the finish line.
THINK ABOUT THE FINISH
When you go through a dark phase – and you probably will – visualise the best part of the race: the finish! There will be a big crowd there, the big clock counting up your time, the finish banner that is tempting you to the line. What are you going to do as you cross the line? Arms aloft? Punch the air? Think about it. And don’t forget to SMILE for the cameras. You’ll be putting that picture on Facebook in the morning.
TAKE IT IN
Running a Marathon is an incredibly rewarding thing to do. In the next few days and weeks, people will be asking you all about it. For years to come, you’ll look back on the experience. So while you are in the moment, take some time to absorb it.
Look around you at the other runners – the colours, the fancy dress, the faces of determination. Listen to the crowds whooping and hollering for you. Get your head up, enjoy the landscape. Take it all in and preserve the memory.