Game-plan and Goals for the Big Race

Last year leading up to the Des Moines Marathon, I had some pretty ambitious goals. Trying for a 3:45 marathon on my first one was probably not the smartest goal. Combine that with bad race day strategy, it made for a pretty lousy (or at least felt that way) first marathon. Now in the ever growing attempt that I can learn from past mistakes and find new ways to make new ones, I wanted to at least state the game-plan for the race up front, so I can’t claim ignorance later.

Overall Game-Plan: I plan to set my Garmin to 9:09 pace with the quick workout feature. I will have a point a reference for how I am doing in comparison to the sub 4 hour goal. I will begin by listening to an audiobook, and try to treat the race like any other long run for the first 10 miles. This has been my problem in the previous race. I tried to race the race from the start. It took me until mile ten last time to reach the pace I should have been running from the start.

Miles 1-5

The first two miles I really don’t have a specified pace except to keep it slow and keep in traffic. There will be no busting to the front of traffic in this race. Whatever the people around me are doing up and down “the Hill” that will be me unless they’re crazy. I would like to stick to 9:15 average pace during this section. I am hoping by a slower goal it will further decrease the desire to keep up or pass people. Besides the out and back in mile 20 right past the finish line, this may be the toughest section of the race for me. Here’s a map of the course and the elevation change.

Miles 6-10

From mile 5 on, the race really becomes flat course. I will continue to listen to my audiobook to keep the anxious desire to start running too fast. My goal for this section is 9:00-:05. The course being so flat should make running even splits much easier. At this point, my hydration strategy will be water every three miles. It’s generally what I did in training with the Capital Striders training group.

Miles 11-20

Mile 11 marks a departure from the previous listening strategy with the Arsenal Island headphone ban looming I am going to switch to a little faster beat music. It is also the first time I will see Laura again. She should be around mile 11 with my first electrolyte drink. I might see her twice in this area around 11 and 13. By mile 14, I will be on Arsenal Island, and the headphones supposedly off. 6 miles of trying to enjoy the run. I am hoping for good course support during this section, but my guess it will be pretty sparse as we run around the golf course. This is section that I don’t know about the most. No iPod, no audiobook, and maybe little course support? I am hoping to maintain a 9:10 average. I certainly did well on my last long run during these miles, but I had music to assist as well.

Last marathon, the wheels fell off the bus during this section. That is not happening this time.

Mile 20-26.2

Run by the finish 3 miles and then come back — as simple as that. I break out the secret ingredient in this section. Besides seeing Laura at what should be around 3:03 and getting another shot of electrolytes, Tasha, my XC runner, has been tasked with making me a brand new 5-song running mix for these miles. Those 5 songs should get me around the corner and on my way back to the finish. If they do their job and I can find the energy, it should be a simply 5k to the finish, and anyone can run a 5k strong.

Goal Times:













Wish me luck for I will need it.

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