Running in the Moment
by Super Dave
I was looking for a little piece of advice to give you so I turned to my wife and said,
"Honey, what one piece of advice could you have used in your last marathon?" She
answered, "I wish someone would have told me how to deal with the pain. Can you tell them
how to deal with back pain at mile 15 or the thought that you can't run any further at mile
The marathon is a series of highs and lows. The first high will be the anticipation of the
start. The first low will be the second you cross the start line and know you have 26.2 miles
to go. For most of you, your marathon will go like this: Miles 1 to 10 will be relatively easy.
Miles 11 - 16 will begin to feel longer and you will swear that they mis-measured the course.
In miles 17 - 20, pain will begin to seep in and take control of your mind. During mile 21 and
22 you'll feel like stopping but then, you'll realize that you only have 4 miles to go. 4 miles
is nothing when you've already covered 22. So from 22 - 26.2, the miles will seem shorter. For
some of you and this will sound strange, you won't want the race to end. You just started
feeling good again! By running in the moment you can deal with these highs and lows and have a
great marathon experience.
For me, that means breaking the race up into manageable segments. Generally that means the
first 10 miles are Segment #1. During the first 10 miles I try to get into a comfortable
rhythm that seems easy. There is nothing in the first 10 miles I haven't done in
Segment # 2 is to mile 16. In this stretch I am running to landmarks I've scouted out
the day before. My goal is simply to make it to each landmark. A landmark may be a particular
aid station or a building. A bad section here can be handled. I say to myself, "As soon as
I make it to the next landmark, I'll feel better." It usually works!
Segment #3 is 16-20. In this section I concentrate on my nutrition. I want to make sure
I drink enough during this section and that I consume what may be my last energy gel.
The final 6.2 miles are broken into 7 segments. That's right; I'm only trying to run the
next mile. I'm not concentrating on the actual number just the mile marker itself. Again, a low
point will only last until the next marker. At least that's what I tell myself.
Finally at mile 26, I know there is 385 yards to go. It's amazing how your body and mind get a
lift and you all of a sudden find energy you thought you lost 6 miles before. It's these 385
yards you will remember most about the marathon. The 26 miles before that is simply the
Small manageable segments will keep the experience less overwhelming. Manage those segments
well, and enjoy those last 385 yards.