I was a Cub Scout for about six weeks when I was in elementary school. Turns out soccer got in the way of Scouting.
I didn’t have a chance to learn much during my short tenure as a Cub Scout, but I do remember the concept of “be prepared.”
About 35 years later, as I ready for the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon on March 29, I’m doing my best to be prepared.
There’s a lot that goes into preparing for a marathon – both physically and mentally – and I’ve done my best in both areas.
No matter what you’re training for, a marathon, a 5K or just trying to get in shape for a summer basketball league, it’s important to remember a few things about preparation.
▪ Have a good plan and stick to it as best you can. Sticking to my marathon plan has been a challenge, with kids’ schedules, a slight injury and a short cold getting in the way. But I’m happy with my physical form as I go into the final few weeks of training. I’m in good shape, feel strong and have no injuries.
▪ Think about mental preparation as much as physical. This has been an emphasis for me as I prepare for marathon No. 4. The marathon is so difficult to prepare for because it’s hard to emulate what it’s like to run 26.2 miles. So I do my best to envision what I’ll be feeling as I get to the difficult moments of the race and try to work my way past it.
▪ Know it’s not going to be easy. In any difficult endeavor, there are going to be hard times. It’s going to hurt at times, you’re going to get tired and you may even want to quit. Being able to fight back those thoughts – those “why don’t you just give up” thoughts – is an ability that every endurance athlete must have. And that’s something that doesn’t come naturally. You have to practice it.
▪ Prepare for the unexpected. Not everything is going to go perfectly on race day. So you should prepare yourself for that. Be ready for bad weather by training in bad weather. Be ready to run when you’re tired, because there’s a good chance you won’t sleep the night before. Thinking about what could go wrong, and then preparing for it, will make it less likely that you’re unpleasantly surprised on race day.
▪ Enjoy the preparation. The event itself only lasts a few hours. The marathon is a celebration of all the hard work I’ve put in over the past few months. But while the training can be monotonous and boring, try to enjoy it as much as you can. I try to picture myself running the marathon during a training run, then thinking about what it will feel like to finish. Remember, training for any event is a journey, so try to enjoy it as much as possible.
Marathon’s pacing team
If you’re preparing for the Modesto Marathon, half-marathon or 5K and are looking for a little motivation, check out the marathon’s pacing team at http://modestomarathon.
These are the people that will be helping you try to keep a steady pace during your race. The website provides some biographical information, including how many marathons they’ve run, and the pacer’s top tips on how to approach your race.
They’ll also be giving pointers, reminders and tips during the race, so you might want to think about running with your respective pacing group on March 29.
‘A Long Run’ at the State
The Modesto Marthon’s annual wine and movie night will be held tonight at the State Theatre in Modesto. The movie is “A Long Run” featuring Bob Anderson, who started Runner’s World magazine at the age of 17. The film follows Anderson’s pursuit of 50 races in a year, covering 350 miles, averaging a sub-7 minute mile pace … all at the age of 64!
Anderson will be on hand for a Q&A session following the film. The evening features food and wine, along with drawings and a silent auction.
The event is a fundraiser for the Teens Run Modesto program. Tickets are $30 at the door ($10 for those under 21).
Reach Jim Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @mission26point2.