A Marathoner's Manifesto: 27 Lessons For a Better Race

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  1. I composed this race day Manifesto on May 8, 2011 after another one of my sub 4:00 marathon attempts. I decided I needed to get out of my head and make some changes to my attitude, my thoughts, my actions, and my habits. Like a scolded school girl, I wrote my "I will/will not" list of marathon do's and don’ts, changed my focus and my mindset.

  2. I WILL refrain from smart-assed comments and eye-rolling when people ask me “how long this marathon will be.” They really don't know what distance a marathon is. To them, ALL races are marathons.

  3. I WILL go to bed early every night during marathon week. No more “insomnia” marathons

  4. I WILL eat healthy all week; no crap, not even the left-over Easter candy or the hidden Halloween candy in the cupboard. And yes that also includes Peeps, my weakness.

  5. I WILL stick to a taper the week of my race and not overdo it just because the rest of my friends are running 50 miles and I'm jealous.

  6. I WILL take the charger for my Garmin with me, even though it clearly says it's 100% charged. That thing has a mind of it's own and it will choose to die right before I hit the start line.

  7. I WILL stop telling everyone I missed qualifying for Boston by "X" amount of minutes. Unless I miss it by a few seconds, it's really not "that close" in running time.

  8. I WILL NOT wear any running attire for the race I haven’t trialled on a long run already because chafing sucks.

  9. I WILL NOT stow my runner's gum or electrolyte chews in my sports bra and forget about them, only to have my post-race photos taken with the pieces still there making me look like a freak of nature.

  10. I WILL NOT over-hydrate on race morning. Anything more than four porta-john trips before the race is unacceptable.

  11. I WILL jog a warm-up and properly stretch 45 minutes before the race instead of staying huddled up inside the trash bag I'm wearing for warmth.

  12. I WILL NOT go out of the starting chute like I stole something and keep my first mile at least 8:30 pace and build up gently.

  13. If I have to pee, I WILL stop and go rather than trying to hold it the entire race. Focusing on not peeing my pants messes with my head and slows me down.

  14. I WILL fartlek (term for “pick up the pace”) to the next fluid station to allow myself time to walk and properly drink without electrolyte aspiration. It really hurts when Gatorade comes out your nose.

  15. I WILL NOT run and simultaneously eat electrolyte chews while chasing them down with water. Those also hurt when you choke and get stuck in your nose.

  16. I WILL NOT engage in conversation with other runners because talking increases my heart rate and slows me down, even though it distracts from the discomfort

  17. I WILL NOT be a baby and walk the uphills. A slow jog will cost me less time, even if it hurts.

  18. I WILL NOT take the downhills like a barrel over Niagara Falls, it's not worth it come mile 20.

  19. I WILL refrain from pissy comments and dirty looks when spectators at mile 22 say “you're almost done.” Just because they can drive 4.2 miles in 5 minutes does not mean that I can run it that fast.

  20. I WILL stand up straight and proud when I see the course photographers to avoid the usual "downward sag" of all body parts photo. It never fails.

  21. WILL NOT have snarky thoughts about the woman in front of me who weighs 50 pounds more than I or who is 20 years older and beating me (this one will be a hard).

  22. I WILL NOT put adhesive toe warmers in the back & front of my sports bra because I got up at ass-o'clock and was freezing. Forgetting about them leaves burn marks.

  23. I WILL NOT overdress and be stuck with my jackets around my waist to flap and annoy me once I am overheated.

  24. I WILL NOT over-accessorize no matter how many cool running gadgets and gizmo's I own for my "free" sport.

  25. I WILL think about people I know who are going through a tough time instead of mentally making fun of peoples’ choice in race attire; or lack thereof. If you want to race in a cotton tee shirt or wear thong underwear under your tights, knock yourself out.

  26. I WILL stop being jealous of everyone who has someone waiting for them on the race course holding cool signs. I will be happy for those that they have support of their family and friends.

  27. I WILL have a great race, enjoy the moment and not act like a spoiled brat if I miss my goal and be thankful I CAN run a marathon at all