We're heading back to this post today since we're feeling Minnesotah. I—Dimity—am in Duluth for Grandma's Marathon Expo. If you're reading this and happen to be in Duluth, please stop by at our booth and say hi. Also, I'll be speaking at 2 p.m. today about maximizing race performance and enjoyment, so if you need a few tips on everything from taking a good race pic to pacing yourself well, I'm happy to oblige.
We thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about how to set race goals for yourself. It can be tough because you don't want to set them so high, you end up feeling like a failure at the finish line, but you also don't want to short-change your training and effort.
We're fans of multi-tiered approach--some time goals, some race-related goals, and maybe even some more personal goals--you are pretty much guaranteed to hit at least one of them, no matter what the clock reads or how you feel when you cross the finish line. Which means you have the respectful answer, "I met my goal," to use on anybody who asks about your race but you don't feel like digging into the nitty gritty.
Our Goals for Sunday
Sarah: Time Goals
Everything is perfect: sub-four hours. (Shocker, right?)
Everything is normal: "I'll be bummed if I go over 4:08," she told me the other day.
Dimity: Time Goals
Everything is perfect: sub 1:30. (Highly unlikely, since I haven't seen many splits under 9:00 in the past 5 months; you have to train the way you want to race. And I really haven't formally trained for this at all. But I'm going to sea level, and it's a fairly flat course. Stranger things have happened.)
Everything is normal: 1:35 (Barring intestinal catastrophe, I know I can hold 9:30 splits at sea level for 10 miles.)
Sarah: Race Goal
To embrace the pain. "When I am at mile 19, if I'm hurting, I want to hang in there and not let myself ease up. I've had a perfect training cycle, and I'm more than two-thirds through the race. Why toss all that hard work away? I really want to leave it all on the course."
Dimity: Race Goal
To start slow and gradually get faster. I am going to monitor my heart rate and get my mile splits. My soon-to-be-coach (for the Iron de Man training, which commences on 11/1!) wants me to run the last mile the fastest, if that's possible. Even when I'm super trained, it's super hard for me mentally to empty my tank, so to do so on Sunday would be a huge victory. I have no desire to embrace any pain. Regardless, I am going to take the first 6 or so miles at an easy, I can-hang-here pace.
Sarah: Personal Goal
To soak it all in. Ever since she got a course preview (in a car) by another mother runner last spring, she's been drooling over the beautiful marathon course. So she wants to take in the lakes and the leaves and, most importantly, acknowledge and thank at least a handful of people cheering.
Dimity: Personal Goal
To get to the starting line feeling energized and happy. As I've written about before, taking care of myself on the road is not my forte. I am going to be sure to hydrate, sit down when there's nobody at the AMR booth, eat well (I've already packed snack bags of almonds), and be asleep before 10 PM both nights (which is, yes, 9 PM my time...).
We'll have a post next week where we grade our goals, but we want to know: do you set a range of goals for your races or focus on just one?