Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Make Marathon Miles--Or Any Distance--Faster

Have a need for speed? Searching for more marathon motivation or a way to get to the finish line with your personal best? Want advice that can stick with you or three ways to prepare your body and your mind for the challenge? It's not every day a coach offers up free tips--while we wish it was the case, more often than not we learn through trial-and-error, a training program or personal coach, or reading material--but Mike Thomson of CoreFitness Chicago, a coach, leader of Core Running classes and a Boston Marathon-qualifier, has some speedy secrets. And he let Fit-Ink learn three key rules, applicable to the marathon as well as any race on your schedule.

Visualize. Racing is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental, so you want to know the race inside and out. Learn the course, its turns, its hills, its hydration stations and picture yourself running the route before the race. Then come race day when you hit a steep uphill, brace for a descent, or know that you need to refuel at miles 6, 12 and 18, your mind has already been there.

Taper volume, not speed. In the week leading up to the race you want to keep your speed but reduce the amount of training. Keep the epic workouts at bay especially those long runs and century spins. But do continue at the same intensity so you'll have that speed on race day.

Ban the expo eating. Free food? Who wouldn't turn that down? Well, you might want to if you don't want to mess with race performance. All of those energy bars, gels and gummies are great for giving you energy during a race or long ride, but that sugar high can spike insulin levels and dump glycogen if you're just sitting around. Don't use the expo as a grocery store unless you're stocking up for during or after the race.

That's not to say that these are the three golden rules of a fast race performance. Training, sleep and a good diet have to be present too or you might find yourself drifting off pace in the final miles. Or start off too quickly because you feel great (maybe leftover sugar-high from expo nibbling) and then sputtering at the end. Whatever the case, it's all about smart racing and smart prep. Posted by Kate


  1. I think its more important to be comfortable and confident with your run, than to run fast. And if you're comfortable and confident, chances are over time you will become a better (and faster) runner. Check out running tips and other exercise tips on Holosfitness.com. The site has hundreds of exercises and activities listed with step-by-step instruction.

  2. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the comment. You're so right--comfortable and confident are good too. I may have taken this post's info out of context as Coach Mike had provided the tips for the Chicago Marathon. But if I could make it four golden tips, I'd add comfortable and confident. And I'll check out holosfitness.com too, sounds like there's lots of great info!

    --kate :)



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