My strategy to Finish a Full Marathon is to divide the Race into four segments.
One: 5K (1 to 5 kms)
In this segment I focus on getting into the rhythm. I don’t want the HR to shoot up too soon, so I start slow, and then gradually hit my goal race pace. However, this is perhaps the most dangerous point in the marathon when adrenalin can take over but you need to hold back. DO NOT START TOO FAST (even if you are on a Positive Splits). AVOID ZIGZAGGING in panic. Spend the first few kms by getting into the stride. You will have plenty of time left to cover up and beat your PR.
After 5K you’ll notice that I’m warmed up, I have a spaced out route (the start will always be crowded and chaotic) and am looking good to maintain the pace.
Two: 21K (6 to 26 kms)
In this segment I focus on running comfortably and maintaining my race pace. There are times when you feel overwhelmed by the crowd support, loud music and enthusiastic runners around you, but don’t make a mistake of going too Fast just yet. Go as planned, try and stay in the right zone, don’t lose focus and drink plenty of water.
Three: 10K (27 to 36 kms)
This segment is all about recreating whatever has worked for me in training. I want to get a feel of running at a FAST pace (10K Time Trials). So far I have been ticking off the kms and running pretty close to the target pace.
I take some chances, a slight increase in pace and longer strides. Not sprinting really, but a few seconds faster than race pace. This helps add 2-5 minutes of buffer.
Four: Smile BIG 😬 (37 kms to Finish)
Survival is the KEY here. If things are going well, I put everything I have toward the finish.
If things aren’t going well, I don’t have an option but to slow down. However, I know that I’ve covered up 2-5 minutes in the 3rd segment and am okay to finish slow, and yet set a PR.
I am positive and I SMILE BIG. Also, if I see someone else without a smile, I try to cheer them up. Things always fall in place, once I see the finish line. 😊
Run the first segment with your head. Be Smart.
Run the second and third segments with your legs. Be Strong.
Run the last segment with you heart. Be Inspired.