minutes per mile blog

how i mentally “break up” a marathon… and a steak dinner

Hello friends! It’s a beautiful morning.IMG_3672And a good day to share a thought on running, right? The other evening Anthony and I were having a discussion over a steak dinner (Yes, we made steak. It was a big deal. More on that later)…steak_filet_DSC0011about how to mentally “break up” a marathon. I didn’t realize it until we started talking, but I’ve basically tried three approaches thus far. Here they are, in order of least successful to most successful:

  • Breaking the marathon in half, and adjusting pace in the second half to “make up” for the first. I tried this approach a couple years ago when I ran the Gettysburg North-South marathon, and though for the first 20 miles I felt great, my speedy start came back to bite me at mile 23. Plus I was stressed out and doing math in my head the whole time. I finished, but didn’t finish strong at all.
  • Breaking the marathon into six-mile segments, without really focusing on pace. This is how I approached my first few marathons — when I didn’t have a Garmin and my goal was mainly just to finish. Did the trick and made the race feel manageable. Again, my goal was just to finish, so pace wasn’t really on my mind.
  • Breaking the marathon into one-mile segments and aiming for a steady pace throughout. This is what I did for my last marathon, and it really worked. I didn’t dwell on the miles behind me or think about the miles ahead — I basically treated each mile as its own mini track workout, staying focused on completing the mile I was running and nothing else. I really like this approach because it keeps things simple. You have something to focus on (the mile you’re running), so your mind doesn’t wander into freak-out mode about the miles ahead or behind. Completing one mile at race pace is a simple, short-term, and achievable thing, so it’s a good thing to think about.

Anyways, those are my crazy ramblings for the day. Speaking more on running, here was the deal with yesterday’s jog…
Somebody spilled an entire bag of potato chips on Main Street. Heartbreaking.

Last week I discovered a random pedestrian bridge nearby, so yesterday I decided to see what was on the other side!IMG_3667The bridge goes over the interstate and takes you from the Five Points area to the Cleveland Park neighborhood (DC readers, sorry, it’s not your Cleveland Park but if it was, that would be so cool right?).IMG_3670Cleveland Park was an interesting neighborhood with quite a mix of people out and about. I passed one woman who was power walking with huge headphones. When she saw me, she tore off her headphones and shouted “YOU GO GIRL!!!” and gave me a few fist pumps. I cheered back. It was a girl power moment for sure!

Then I spotted this dresser, which is in need of some love.IMG_3669Let’s depart from street furniture land and go directly to steak…steak_filet_DSC0002Anthony and I were going to go out to dinner on Sunday night, but decided that we’d rather save some cash and try going gourmet at home. We’ve never made steaks on a grill before, and were pretty nervous to try it out! After intense Googling, Anthony had a strategy for cooking them just right.

A little pink, but pretty close to perfect!steak_filet_DSC0014I handled the sides, aka veggies mountain.steak_filet_DSC0009We even ate our steaks on our nice china dishes, a lovely wedding gift from our friend Dave. What a fancy finale to the weekend.

  • Last time a stranger shouted at you?
  • Tips for grilling steak?
  • Tell me how you mentally tackle a marathon!

7 thoughts on “how i mentally “break up” a marathon… and a steak dinner

  1. It sounds nerdy but I like to do math equations in my head during the marathon. I also like to take it 1 mile at a time. This is helpful for me too! Except when I start to do fractions two miles in and realize I’m only 1/13th of the way done!

    • haha, that is some intense calculation! i actually do the same thing sometimes on shorter runs when i’m bored. whatever works!

  2. I broke my last marathon into four 5-mile segments and then the “mile 20 and beyond.” I mentally checked each 5-miler off, and then as soon as I got to mile 20 I reminded myself that I only had ____ more minutes left. It was an okay strategty, but I didn’t have a strict time goal.
    For other races, I’ve looked at the course map and tried to break it down into course segments.

    One of my friends ran a 3:30 marathon last month and her mental strategy was dedicating each mile to someone and thinking about that person during the mile. She carried a list of names with her!

    • i did that too for my third marathon! i wrote 27 names in sharpie alllllll down my arm. i still sweat off everyone past mile 15, so they didn’t get any thoughts or dedications, haha.