At the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, I had the honor of talking to Rod Dixon, a runner from New Zealand that won the NYC Marathon in 1983. We talked a little about his running as well as mine. When I asked him about what was the longest he's run, he told me a story about a training run. The training run was going well, but one wrong turn made them miss where they were suppose to go, and they were lost. I listened and enjoyed hearing him talk of how he finally came across a group of boy scouts (I think) who gave them food so that they could continue running and get back to where they were suppose to go. That day, he ran over 30 miles, and he told me that he never wanted to run anything beyond a marathon again.
I looked at one of the interviews that he had, and one phrase jumped out at me. "The most important thing with the marathon, with any race, is to run your plan, not somebody else's. You've got to be a winner at your race, and on your plan." In the 1983 NYC Marathon, the leaders were well ahead of him, and at the 20th mile, he was still 2:30 minutes behind the leaders. Dixon had to keep up with his plan and made sure to save as much distance by shaving off the distance in each corner while Geoff Smith (the leader at that time) ran in the middle of the road. By the 26th mile, he had caught up because Smith had slowed down and ran a little longer, and Dixon rushed pass Smith and ran as fast as he could to have that psychological edge, and ran that last .2 miles, finishing 8 seconds ahead of Smith.
The hardest thing for people to do is to stick with your plan. You know yourself the best, and when you have a plan, you go for it... til you see someone else that has a different plan. Sure you can make minor changes, but to change your pace all of a sudden and throw your plan away? That's a bad idea. However, when you're at that situation and you're behind by a certain amount of time or distance, your competitive side wants to throw your plan away and catch up with that person and go for first place. I don't know what to expect at this race. Whether some will just go all out at the beginning and take a long break and then go out, or if they're going to run at a really slow pace and see if they could go all the way... All I know is my own plan, and for this upcoming race, I'm going to stick with it and race my best. Right now, all I can do is look at my plan and tweak it in order to make it so that I would be able to perform at my best, so I study and research and figured out different ways I could keep myself accountable during the race.
Today was my last 'run' where I just played a little indoor soccer (made a goal and an assist), and I enjoyed the fast pace running. After that, I ate one big meal and was able to do a little carb-load. Now for some much needed sleep... gotta stick to the plan.