Okay, Internet, we are now at less than ONE WEEK before the marathon, so it is time for me to kick up the obsessiveness into high gear. Current topic: race strategy.
My strategy when I ran the Des Moines marathon last year was fairly simple - my goal was (1) to finish and (2) to not die, and I thus achieved that goal by moving in a forward direction until I crossed the finish line and got my medal and space blanket. Mission accomplished!
But this time, I am looking to PR by a significant amount and to finish as strong as I possibly can. But I can think of several different approaches that will get me there.
One thing I have figured out is my hydration and fuel strategy. I will get water and/or Gatorade approximately every three miles and will take Gu or sport beans every six. I will walk through those water stops - my goal is not so ambitious that I can't afford these short breaks, and I know from my long runs that they work well for me.
But what about pace?
Option 1: Program my Garmin, Paula, to prompt me to run a pace that will get me to my goal of 4:30. Aim for even splits. The pros are that this strategy is very straightforward, and obviously will work if I just run as fast as I need to. The con is that what if 4:30 is not the fastest I could have run? What if I end up doing myself a disservice?
Option 2: Fly blind. Use Paula to track mileage, but ignore the pace. Possibly even tape over that part of the screen with blue painter's tape to avoid temptation. When I ran the trisko, I did most of it blind because Paula couldn't get a signal in the bad weather. I ran completely by feel, and I think that because of that, I ran faster than I would have. If I had known how fast I was going, I might have said, "Betsy, that is way too fast for these conditions. Take it easy." The con to this idea is that I might go out too fast and die in the end.
Option 3: Make a hybrid of these two plans, leaving the door open for negative splits. Program Paula to get me on 4:30 pace through the halfway point, then run by feeling, picking it up if I feel up to it.
Well, runners? What say you?