Now that I’ve run 7 of them, I consider myself kind of a seasoned marathon runner. Not an expert, but I know a little something about how to crank through the good old 26.2 and come out alive on the other end.
You’ve probably heard people talk about hitting “the wall” somewhere between miles 16-22. Now, trust me, I have hit that wall hard as a rock. But, that’s not usually what gets me.
What gets me — is the legs. When your lungs feel great and you’ve got plenty of energy to finish but your legs are just aching like crazy. It’s like churning frozen butter to make them move back and forth (or so it seems.) Kind of looks hard:
Looks hard. It was.
So, what do you do? It seems so silly to stop and walk when your body actually feels good. You implement what I like to all Operation Ignore. It’s really fun 🙂
I’ve consulted with some of my favorite marathoners (including Maggie!!) to compile of a list of ways that you too can participate in Operation Ignore and finished your marathon with a shiny, new PR!
Lindsey & Glenn, tons of BQs in this pic 🙂
In the words of Sheryl Crow, “No one said it would be easy, but no one said it’d be this hard.” Well, get ready cause it’s NOT easy but that’s part of the magic.
10 Ways to Ignore Achy Legs & PR!
1. Focus on Breathing. When you feel pain in your legs (or stomach or shoulders or butt for that matter), focus on your breathing. It’s a meditative tactic that can actually calm you down and get your mind on something specific.
2. Lean Forward. Utilize new parts of your legs by leaning forward! You will have no choice but to keep going — or you’ll fall! By doing this, you’ll engage new muscles and get the pressure of some that are worn out.
3. Stop Thinking About Your Legs — Start Thinking About Strong Words. Words like power, capable, and energy! Also, big ideas! What I will accomplish, invent, plan after this? If I can do this, I can do all those things!
*BONUS: Say them out loud for emphasis. I always do this and it seems to help 🙂
4. Envision the Celebration. Think about what it will feel like when you cross the finish line and get to text/Facebook/tweet/Instagram/blog your victory to everyone you know. Think about how proud you will be that you kept going — and how disappointed you will be if you slow down.
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES! (But you have to earn it first!):
5. Focus on the Beat. Channeling in on fast beasts– especially songs that really pump you up — help momentarily forget about the pain. There are a few songs that ALWAYS do it for me. I had those keyed up and just let loose when they came on. It proved to myself that I could keep going.
6. Repeat After Me: The Faster You Go, The Faster You’re Done. Now, say it again. Tell yourself, “You can do anything for X number of miles.” By the time you get to the leg aching fatigue, you will only have a short training run left to go. If you remind yourself how many times you’ve run 5 miles, you’ll remember how short of a distance that is and push through.
7. Eat a Gel. When you are that far into a marathon, sometimes eating a gel is the last thing you want. But if sufficient time/mileage has gone by, you should go ahead and do it. Recently, I did this (when I didn’t want one) and once I swallowed, I had a burst of energy, including in my legs.
8. Replay Your Training. Remind yourself of all the time and tough workouts it took to get yourself to this moment. THIS is what it’s all about, the day, the moment to give it everything you have. You owe it to yourself and you have to trust your training. You either perform or fold — and it’s your decision!
9. Play “Hunter and Prey.” It’s easy: Just find people ahead of you and slowly run them down. It’s your own little game that keeps your mind off your legs and on the goal ahead.
10. Increase Foot Strike Cadence. This will help you maintain your pace by keeping your leg turnover at a good rate.
Thanks to the lovely, talented and best runner friend a girl could ever have, Maggie, for helping compile this list and always being there to run off the stresses of life with me. Runner friends get it!
‘Cause there’s almost no better feeling in the world than THIS:
QUESTION: Am I missing any tips? Do you have any? Will you promise to try some of these and tell me how they worked?