The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Boston Marathon Race Prep
That right there is our local expert, Lauren Padula*. A few weeks ago (April 20th, to be exact), she ran the Boston Marathon. Yep, this BQer is not only smart, she’s fast. Real fast. We were super excited to hear everything about her Boston Marathon experience, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus especially on how she prepped for the event and how well that worked out for her. Read all the juicy deets below.
Anyone that has trained for a race, from a 5k all the way to a marathon, knows a few things: you focus for weeks or months all on a few hours in one day, as that day gets closer nerves are bound to kick in, and what you do in the few days before the race becomes a routine (maybe even a little superstitious or neurotic to some).
So what happens when you travel for your race? Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to run the 119th Boston Marathon. I could bore you (or excite some of you run-nerds like myself) with pages of talk on my training program, but we are going to skip right to the trip. Getting into town a few days before the race, with friends and family, presented a challenge: how do I enjoy my vacation while prepping to run a major marathon? Turns out that is a good question, and a challenge that will take some trial and error to master.
The Good: when travelling, always pack your race day outfit and shoes in your carry-on. This eliminates any stress about whether your luggage will make it to your destination with you. Also pack a small foam roller or The Stick in your luggage. Your tight airplane sitting legs will appreciate it. Also remember to bring along the nutrition and hydration products you typically use in the days before and during the race. For me, this consists of many tubes of Nuun as well as Honey Stinger’s waffles, chews, and gels. Nailing this pre-race prep was a huge relief and prevention of stress. I also made sure to get my standard cheese pizza dinner the night before the race. Never mess around with a pre-race meal.
The Bad: there are only so many factors you can control about race day. As many times as you check the weather prior to leaving home, we all know the weather reports are occasionally less than accurate. I packed for 50-60 degrees on race day and extra layers for my pre-race time at Athlete’s Village. For the 3 days before and 2 days after the marathon, the weather was exactly that: partly cloudy and 50-60 degrees. However, for Marathon Monday, the weather was about 40 degrees, rainy, and with a headwind. To say that I was underdressed for cold and wet weather would be an understatement. Being cold and wet for 26.2 miles definitely negatively impacted my performance and reminded me of a cardinal rule of racing (both at home and away): be prepared for anything Mother Nature may throw your way.
The Ugly: I also made one of the biggest mistakes of pre-race etiquette in the few days before the marathon. Instead of relaxing with my feet up, resting my legs, I walked. A lot. An average of 8 miles per day in the 3 days prior to the race. But here’s the thing: I was on vacation in Boston. I wanted to enjoy my trip as well as the race. In retrospect, taking public transportation or bullying my friends into piggyback rides may have been the smarter option. But I did have an amazing trip, lots of fun, and made fantastic memories. So would I change it? I’d probably stay off of my feet on Sunday, but I wouldn’t change the rest. That’s a decision to make when you plan races that are out of your own city.
All in all, I would give myself a B on my pre-race preparations. I ran a race that I am proud of, but not the one that I was hoping for. How much of that is due to my sub-par prep? How much is due to the weather and other conditions I couldn’t control? And how much is just what I happened to be able to do that day? I don’t know. But I do know that I qualified to run Boston again next year. And next year, I’ll be even better prepared than I was this year.
*Lauren is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and running coach. You can find her leading the lululemon La Jolla run club as their run ambassador, leading the San Diego chapter of the November Project, or running along the city’s beautiful waterfront as she trains for next year’s Boston Marathon. If she’s not running, you can find her endlessly talking about running, as she coaches and trains runners of all levels and abilities or hosts workshops and clinics. She’s more than willing to answer any of your running questions, and her passion is helping you reach your running goals! You can find out more information about Lauren at www.RUNaliveSD.com or feel free to email her at RUNaliveSD@gmail.com.