how to manage the ups and downs of a marathon

When you train and train diligently, purposefully and carefully for 26.2 miles… Well, you really want it to go well.  How you manage those mid-race dips in confidence can be the difference between running well and, well, finishing.

Here’s what you can do to get you through those hard times during a marathon:Sam AC marathon

  1. Practice being patient
  2. Know that you’ll come out of the funk eventually
  3. Relax both your mind and your body
  4. Focus on your mantra
  5. Run enough miles in training that you know how your body reacts when you hit a low patch

When all else fails, resort back to your strengths.  Repeat your mantra, relax your breathing, and focus on being as smooth and controlled as possible so that when you get out of your low patch, you have energy to continue on.


Here’s how Samantha’s Atlantic City Marathon went and how we’ve learned so much about how to prepare and execute a race plan on race day.

“While I didn’t feel good, I finished and finished strong.  It definitely didn’t go as I had envisioned.  I knew it was going to be hard, especially those last 6 miles, but it was hard for me starting mile 2. I never felt as though I ran “my race” nor got into a groove. And maybe this is what marathoning is about – I’m not sure.  I just never felt I had a turnover in my legs, or felt good running. I actually felt like crap for most of the race. My warm up was great, I had dressed appropriately, ate what I’m used to, felt hydrated (got water at most water stations), felt rested, relaxed upper body, but legs did not want to move it felt like, and that was for most of the race. At mile 18 I felt really sick to my stomach and mile 22 was just slow and long.IMG_4010

The good news is that I did my absolute best to get a sub-4 hour time.  I trained perfectly.  So I know I have that to rest on.  I’ve also never felt this crappy racing – I love to race!  I’m taking it as a lesson to learn from though and I’ll come back better next time!

Atlantic City Marathon was a very lonely race though. There were moments on the course where you were alone running with little spectators–which I think does play a factor in your spirits especially when you already feel like you’re running crappy early on.  Even though most of my training was alone, it still didn’t help that I didn’t hear a lot of cheering on the course.


We know how much training Samantha put into the AC Marathon and without a doubt, we know that more good races are coming her way.  Keep up the great work Sam!  Overall, Samantha was 224th out of 849, good enough for 19th in her age group. Results can be found here.
Want more races about marathons and training tips for 26.2 miles? 2013 race recap about Atlantic City Half, Keys to a successful long run, Avoiding race day mistakes.

Contact Coach Marc for your personal training plan.

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