San Francisco Marathon: The Game Plan

Instead of talking about today’s long run, I want to lay out my game plan for next week’s marathon. (It’s for the best. All I have to say about the run is that I hate humidity. Actually, I think I can go on record and make that a blanket statement for all my runs this summer.)

So, it’s no secret that the San Francisco Marathon has a special place in my heart. After impulsively registering for the First Half Marathon in 2011 solely for the experience of running over the Golden Gate Bridges, I fell in love with the city and the race. The next logical step was to sign up for the Second Half Marathon and complete the Half it All Challenge. (I had bling envy.) Then, of course, I registered for the full at last year’s expo. (I’m also a sucker for a free t-shirt.)

When I registered for the full, I didn’t know if I would race it or just run for “fun.” I hadn’t been able to race either half. In 2011, I was coming off three weeks of international travel and no exercise at all, apart from one rainy 10k in England. In 2012, I was still recovering from my back injury. (I hesitate to call it an injury because that sounds so serious. This one kept me from running only three or four days though the pain/discomfort lasted longer than that.)

Then came the HHI half marathon and my massive PR, followed by two nearly identical efforts at GHS and Greer. Visions of a sub 4 hour marathon started dancing in my head. I still wavered though, having already promised to run the first half with Mom so we could cross the Golden Gate Bridge together.

The tragic bombings at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon tipped the scale. In an instant, I knew. Come June 16th, I would race and get that much closer to running Boston myself.

Even while I threw myself into the second half of this training cycle, I kept wondering if I could actually do it, if I could actually run that fast. I have a tendency to doubt myself.

Well, race day is a week (and a few hours) away. It’s time to put aside the self doubt. The training is in the bank and I’m ready to grab that sub 4 hour marathon.

So here’s the specific game plan.

1. 9 minute miles
In reality, I’ll probably look for an 8 in front of that pace when I glance at my Garmin.

2. Run the first 6-7ish miles with Mom
This is still tentative. I still want to run with her across the bridge. She knows my goal pace (see #1) and thinks she can maintain that pace for those miles. She’s been struggling with her thyroid medication lately so she may not be able to maintain that pace. If that’s the case, we’re both flexible enough to be okay without the simultaneous bridge crossing.

3. Walk through water stops
In Savannah, I walked through water stops and fuel breaks. I’ve been practicing eating while still running (such a funny thing to practice) and I think I’ve got it down.

4. Fuel belt = race day decision
I’m bringing the fuel belt with me to San Francisco but am leaning away from wearing it during the race. I ran Savannah without my Camelbak but it was hotter than I expected so I might have benefited from the extra water. Since to wear or not to wear depends on the weather, this is a race day decision.

5. Time goals
Obviously my A goal is 3:xx:xx. I know better than to leave that as the only goal.
A goal – 3:xx:xx
B goal – 4:10:xx (my original reach goal for Savannah)
C goal – PR (faster than 4:24:32)

I’ve put a lot of thought into this race, maybe too much. I think I’m finally ready to put it all on the line and what better place to do that than my all time favorite race, the San Francisco Marathon?



Filed under marathon

3 responses to “San Francisco Marathon: The Game Plan

  1. Pingback: San Francisco Marathon Week 17 Training Recap | Stepping Out

  2. RickNP

    Good luck! I’m hoping for sub 4:00 as well.

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