Top 6 Marathon Preperation Tips

I am still floating around with a  post-marathon glow on my face.  While the rest of my life has resumed its regular schedule, I’m stuck replaying the race in my head. I just can’t stop thinking about it. 3:14:54. Did I really do that?  I did! I did!

Someone asked me in the office how did I make such a gigantic improvement in my marathon time. I kind of wondered that myself. So here’s the best I could come up with: Six tips that made CIM successful for me.

My parents and the now famous marathon sign

My parents and the now famous marathon sign

1. I *actually* tapered.

And no, it was not a six-day taper, y’all. I spent the last 2.5 weeks dramatically cutting my mileage.  I loathed it. I  felt bloated and short-tempered, but I can’t deny it. The rest helped.

2. I thought like a 7:20 min/mile runner.

Call it the “fake it ’til ya make it” method of training. During my runs I’d often wonder what a “fast” runner would look like and what I might look like if I were a fast runner. Obviously, there’s probably more to training than imagining yourself running your goal time, but I think it helped.

My brother participated in the CIM Relay Challenge

My brother participated in the CIM Relay Challenge. He used the popular alcohol infused training method

3. I created a 3:15 = 7:28 min/mile Post-It Note.

And I stuck it on my computer. Very high-tech, I know. When I first looked up the min/mile I would need to run to finish at 3:15 I suffered severe sticker shock. The idea of 7:28/mile seemed a teeny tiny bit fast. Maybe looking at it 8 hours a day for a few weeks made it seem not so crazy.

4. I went to track practice.-

Yeah, who knew! Those things really work.

5. I said nice things to my legs

Before long runs. After long runs. Even in the shower. “Legs,” I said, “You’ve got a big race ahead of you, but I think you’re going to be great. So just do what you do best.” Then I took them for a massage. I’m pretty sure they liked that.

6. I bought a new pair of running shoes three weeks out.

As if I needed an excuse to buy a pair of running shoes, but I hate that flat feeling – definitely not helpful when you’re trying to feel like a gazelle. So I splurged on a pair of running shoes specifically for this marathon. Then I wore them on several long runs to break them in. Good plan, yo!

And finally… somewhere along the road, running became really fun. No, OK… it’s not like I was filled with glee as I huffed and puffed my way up a gigantic hill at 5 AM. And I do have to constantly battle against my inherently lazy nature, but I guess, I don’t know… I found that I like running more than I did and that feeling myself improve over the last months is ridiculously addictive.


Two generations of marathon finishers 🙂

It also doesn’t hurt to have wonderful and inspiring runner friends, runner bloggers and non-runner friends. Thanks for everybody’s kind words, encouragement and support!


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in California International Marathon, health, marathon, running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Top 6 Marathon Preperation Tips

  1. Aileen says:

    Great post! I think I might steal the post-it idea…

  2. Allie says:

    Great tips! New shoes and a massage does sound nice. I am in need of both!

  3. Laura says:

    Love the tips – thank you 🙂

  4. lindsay says:

    mental-training is a huge part of marathon-training! i pictured myself running a bq prior to my last marathon and then, i did it. we must have super-power brain waves 🙂 great tips, i think i am going to have to steal the post-it idea too!

  5. Johnny says:

    What an inspiring story. I liked tip 5. I am going to start talking to my legs. I can’t believe I’ve been giving them the silent treatment this whole time. It’s amazing they still do anything for me at all.

  6. Great tips! I especially like the “fake it ’til you make it” mentality. I like to have that philosophy when I run races. I imagine if I were a running elite how I’d approach the race, and just let the rest take care of themselves. Very inspirational. Thanks for jotting them down for us.

  7. pinkcowgirl says:

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just plain awesome!!!!!! You rocked it, girlie!!!!!

    I’m gonna have to use those tips. You’ve got some great ones there!!! I hope to do my first marathon in 09!!!

    🙂 Congrats again.

  8. guppy says:

    doesn’t hurt that it has a cumulative net downhill of about 320ft??Hello

    • heatherdaniel says:

      You’re right, the net downhill was helpful, but CIM is not flat… there are quite a few rolling hills and 320 feet over 26 miles isn’t very much.

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