Competitor Group, Inc.

Race Day

by | Oct 06, 2012 |

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is just a day away and I’m feeling good about the challenge ahead. A number of people have asked me how I approach different phases of the race. Today, I’ll share my strategy for the “during”.

Split the Race Into Segments
One of the best recommendations ever given to me was dividing the marathon up into a number of smaller manageable pieces. For example, I could split the Chicago Marathon into five different races – four five-milers and then a 10K to add up to the full length of the race. Tackling five smaller races is much more manageable to me than one longer one, and helps me focus on what I should be doing at each stage of the race.

Let the Mental Take Over
As my body starts to get tired, I have to rely more on the mental side of things. It becomes a balancing act between monitoring everything internally, while also reacting to the course and the competition.

Fueling Smart
Everyone’s fueling plan during a race is going be unique, but as a start, I recommend following some of the recommendations I learned from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI):
Hydration (Sodium)
• Know your sweat rate to customize a plan to meet your unique needs
• Sweat rate can be calculated by measuring body weight before and after a training session in the same environment as competition. Keep track of the fluid consumed, and calculate this formula:
• Sweat Rate (Liters/hour) = (weight loss – fluid intake (L))/exercise time (hours).
• Use sports drinks to provide fluid and electrolytes. G Series Pro Endurance Formula is on the course of the Chicago Marathon and over 300 other endurance races. It contains 200 mg sodium, per 8 oz. serving.
The longer the race, the more important ingested carbohydrate becomes. Everyone’s carbohydrate intake is different but I worked with Asker Jeukendrup at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and he recommends 30-60 g/h for 1-2.5 hours and up to 90 g/h for 2.5 – 3 hours. Math is hard enough, let alone doing it 20 miles into a race, so figure out beforehand what your needs will be!

Pace Strategy
We all know there’s no secret formula for winning a race or achieving a PR. Just like anyone else, I could be in the best shape of my life, but if I go out too fast, I might fade over the latter stages. I look at each race differently and create a strategy based on how I feel, the weather and the pace of my competitors. If I need to make adjustments to this strategy during the race, I will. You are your own gauge, so keep that in mind as you tackle the race.