Today, I ran the first run of my taper week, 8.25 miles to the lakefront trail and back. The temps were around 60 degrees and it was windy (as you can see by the sailboat pictures I took this morning). One question I keep asking myself during my runs is, "during the Chicago Marathon, at what point will I hit the dreaded wall, and will I be able to handle it so that I can keep running?"
|Over the Wall to Victory!|
|Sail Collapse in the Lake - 9/30/12|
How far can I go?: However, the Collapse Point formula is a little basic. I did quite a lot to torture my legs in my marathon training to rely on a quick calculation to determine my collapse point. Realistically, I am betting that since I ran 7 days a week for most of the last 18 weeks, that I can maybe push my legs until mile 23 or 24 until I hit the wall. For me, hitting the wall has had two meanings:
- Laying on the sidewalk along Michigan Ave. for 10 minutes because BOTH of my legs won't move (Chicago '10).
- Walking the last 3 miles of the marathon (New York '11) due to leg cramps.
However, this time around, it will be the point where my mind is telling me to stop, even though I actually have enough energy and stamina to pull off a decent finish.
Breaking Through The Wall: So, how can I handle the wall once I feel I am about to slow down along Michigan Ave.? Here's a list I came up with:
|Will I be able to crest the wall when things get stormy?|
#1) Memories: Remember the 117 of the last 126 days that I laced up my shoes and headed out the door sometimes in the oppressive heat, sometimes twice a day, just so the last 6.2 miles of the marathon would be more of a breeze!
|Will I soar like this guy?|
#2) Find A Group. Get pulled along by runners that are at a similar pace. Draft when necessary. Gain confidence when a runner falls out of the group because I am still able to go faster.
|Make some temporary running buddies during the Marathon|
#3) The Crowd: Let the cheers of the crowd pull me along. How many times in my life will I have thousands of people cheering me on? The least I can do for them is to pick my head up and move my legs a little faster! Also, I need to eat the sugary/salty things that they are handing out when they offer them.
|Let the crowd pull you along....|
#4) Run Slowly Early: Aka, run negative splits. One of the most accepted theories of why runners' legs cramp near the end of a marathon is due to too many fast, early miles. Yes, I have a tendency to try and "bank" miles early, and I have proven to myself beyond all doubt this does not work. As an added bonus: If I run the first 3 miles as a warm-up, the marathon becomes only a 23.2 mile race!
|Remember the 100+ solo runs that got me to this point...|
#5) Relax and Have Fun: If I am having fun during the final 6.2, the only thing that I will be dreading is the finish line coming too soon! I won't be running another fun marathon until April!
|Relax and have fun!|
How do you plan on "breaking through the wall?"