Pace Team Training
Part I: Registered! Now what? Setting goals
On behalf of MarathonPacing.com, we'd like to congratulate you on signing up for the AmeriHealth New Jersey Atlantic City Marathon and Half Marathon. You made a great decision! Now it is time to set your goal time. It is very important to decide on a goal early to determine what the nature of your training will be. It is okay if this goal is revised during training depending on how your training is going.
Before we talk about specific goals, it is important to keep a record of the runs you do. You could do it the old fashion way by using a simple pencil and paper, or a fancy journal.
List the following details: date, total mileage and/or total time, average pace (if you know what it is) and how you felt on the run.
If you are wearing a GPS device, you can download this information very easily onto your computer, or phone. However, it is still a good idea to include notes on how you felt during the run. This can aid with goal revision and setting new goals for future races.
Goal #1: Just Finish. Runners with this goal are usually the ones who have the most fun, are most likely to enjoy the atmosphere, may stop and take pictures, high five members of the crowd and thank the volunteers. Remember finishing a marathon is special whether it is your first marathon or your one thousandth. Every one of our Pacers knows this and we want your marathon to be special too.
Goal #2 Finish Strong. Make your last mile the fastest. There is great satisfaction in finishing strong, but it is not something that many runners can do. Often because they haven't followed a smart race strategy based on their training. The great thing about this goal is that it forces you to run conservatively, not starting out too fast which is so easy to do with the nerves and excitement at the beginning of a marathon. Save that energy for the end and have the joy of passing people to cross the finish line. And besides, there are often so many race photos taken at end of a race and so many friends and family around, you want to be seen finishing like a champ!
Goal #3 Time. Time based goals are generally what people think of when they think of making goal for a marathon. Although this is a big reason why the Pacers pace, we also pace to help you have the most positive experience possible. That being said, having a time goal can be very motivating, whether the goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, to achieve a Personal Record (PR) or a finish time to shoot for. The crucial part of this is to make sure that your goal is realistic. It takes some record keeping, research and analysis to determine what an appropriate goal should be. There are resources, mainly from well-known running authors, to give you a rough idea of what a reachable goal could be based on past race performances. For example, a simple method devised by Jeff Galloway would be to time yourself for a mile and multiply your time by 1.3 to get a goal marathon time. You can also use race results predictors on Marathonguide.com or Runners World.
Use the longest run results you have to get the best prediction. It is important to remember that all of these predictors are rough guides only and have several limitations. They assume that you will be able to train properly for a marathon, be in the same physical condition and that the course you will be running will be as fast or as flat as your training runs. In this case, you are in luck! Atlantic City is a fast, flat course! However, we still recommend being conservative with your time based goals.
Part 2: Changing Your Tires
Wearing properly fitting shoes is as important as driving a car with properly fitted tires. Running in shoes that are wrong for your foot type and stride can affect your running mechanics and can most certainly lead to injury. It is also important to understand that although it is okay to do research, there is no “best shoe” since we are all unique in our physical characteristics and goals. Each person must purchase the shoe that works best at that time based on many factors. So let us discuss your trip to the shoe store.
First, it’s always a nice idea to support your local running stores. Generally they will have knowledgeable salespeople who may be runners themselves. The store is also more likely to sell a wide variety of other accessories you may need and have information on local running clubs and events in your area. Besides, you can't try on running shoes from your computer!
To prepare for your trip wear a pair of socks and shoes that you currently run in. Be sure to allow some time to try on different pairs of shoes until you feel relatively sure that you have found the pair that you want. Once you are there, tell the salesperson what you are looking for. Define the type of training you will be doing and any history of injury. If you are unsure of your foot type, show them your old shoes so that they may determine your wear pattern. For example, your wear pattern could show that you are an over-pronator which means that you tend to land on the inside of your foot during a stride and then roll towards the outside. The salesperson would likely recommend more of a motion control shoe. In addition, the salesperson may have you run on a treadmill to analyze your stride to again determine your foot type.
Take your time spending a few minutes running in each pair you try on. If possible, try not to let price be a determining factor in your ultimate decision. The fit needs to be the most important factor and although a shoe is more expensive, it doesn’t mean it is better.
Made your decision… Here are some accessories that might be worth buying next.
- Running Socks
- Anti-Chaffing Sticks or Lotion
- Hand Held Water Bottle or Hydration Belt – Especially if you are planning on long runs where there is not access to water fountains.
So after you walk out of the store with your goodie bag, thanking the salesperson for the good service and saying you’ll send all your running friends to the store, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Just like a new car, new shoes should have a break-in period. You certainly shouldn’t go out and run a marathon in them the next day. Actually, the best thing would be to do a few treadmill runs to test the shoes so that if, for some reason they aren’t comfortable, it will be easier to return them.
Remember to include all the miles that you run in these shoes in your running log so you’ll know how many miles you can do before they start to wear out. If you have multiple pairs, rotating them will help with the longevity of the shoes life and hopefully save some money in the long run!