Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Marathon tips by Seth Wold

I would like to thank Seth for sharing some of what he does to prepare for and race a marathon. Some people may think that fast people do things totally different, but I know runners at every level who approach their marathons the way Seth is describing. The commonalities are consistent and adequit preparation, well thought out objective race goals, well planned preparation and focused on tasks do be done not how they feel during the race.

Marathon Preparation and Race Day Rituals of Seth Wold



I am a young new marathon runner who enjoys running enough to compete in all of Utah’s major marathon’s this year. In my past two years of marathoning, I have won the Ogden marathon twice, won the Utah valley marathon, and placed respectably in many other marathons including; Salt Lake, Deseret News, Bryce Canyon Half, Top of Utah Half, etc. In 2008 I went and competed in the US marathon championships, placing 28th overall. I married my highschool sweetheart who is also a runner. We were track captains together, and then both ran in college.

The mind set for marathoning. When preparing for a marathon it is important to create a realistic goal. This goal should be a measurable result which you can control. For example, I shouldn’t go into races with a goal of taking a certain place, because I can’t control who comes to the race or how well they will perform. But setting a time, heart rate, or effort goal helps me run strong no matter what the race day circumstances may be. As part of this goal, find a marathon
training plan with daily workouts written out. (i.e. The Salt Lake Running Company Website is a good place to start;)

The next step in mental preparation for a marathon is just as important as the first. Reevaluate your goals weekly. You may find that an injury has slowed the progress towards running to your goal. This is OK. It is normal to hit speed bumps along the way. Just be proactive, and find ways to overcome, and prevent future injuries.

The most important part about marathon preparation for me is remembering why I am training for
and running the marathon. I am in it for the fun. It feels good, and I gain a real sense of accomplishment from preparing for and completing such a large goal. It is hard to stay consistent with training for a marathon. But the feeling I get completing a race is so great that it is worth all the hard solo runs I muscled through in preparation.

Race day thoughts for me are pretty simple. I think positively about all the work that I have put in preparing. Sure, I could have trained harder, but I am happy with what I did. I have my gels (taken every half hour), salt sticks (taken every hour), and sport legs (taken every 2-3 hours) measured out in plastic bags pinned to my shorts. My shoes fit, with a pinky to thumb width in front of my longest toe to the end of the shoe. I am wearing tech clothes; singlet shorts, socks and gloves when needed. I have applied a liberal amount of Body Glide to avoid painful chafing late in the marathon. With all the physical needs taken care of I shift my focus to the mental aspect.

The gun goes off and I get out quickly to settle into my planned race pace. I feel out the field to see who I should run with. Once I decide to run a certain pace I try to relax my breathing, even out the cadence of my steps and slow my heartrate. I glance occasionally at my Garmin to check the pace, because I don’t want to stress too much if I am feeling good. I am always relieved to see the aid stations, and I grab waters in both hands so that I can stay hydrated. By focusing on doing all the little things, eating gels, drinking water, controlling my breathing and racing according to how I feel, I gain confidence and I am able to race the marathon a mile at a time, rather than mentally attacking the whole marathon at once.

No matter how the marathon finishes, I am genuinely happy with the results. Whether I obtained my goal or fell short I am happy that I had the courage to go for it. If some of my competition has a great race, then I am ecstatic for them. It is fun to watch others achieve their goals, and inspiring to watch others continue to try to catch an elusive goal.

3 comments:

Wendi said...

That was awesome! Thanks for all the advice!

Tay and Jen said...

Seth is the man! Good luck at St. George!

Fraser's and Co. said...

Nice job Seth... so fun to see your accomplishments, as a runner, and as a friend of your family since they lived in the Basin.
Congrats!