Oz’s Marathoning Rules of Ruin

Leave the first response June 30, 2007 / Posted in The Running Mind

Some of you remember my story about attempting to do a sub-3 about a
month after my first daughter’s birth. I missed it by an hour and 5
minutes. Two weeks later I came back and did a 3:20 in El Toro. See
Rule #1.

I learned some valuable lessons. Emotions play a significant role in
one’s marathoning. One learns to let every thought go just as each
exhale lets the previous inhale go. A negative thought is just the
beginning of a story that will lead to waste. A feedback thought like:
relax shoulders; breathe; relax jaw; eyes on the horizon; run light; all
keep the mind, body, spirit focused to the present moment.

The scans of the body that look to good running form and style, allow
for feedback to reduce any and all unnecessary stress, tension, or
strain that might creep in by thinking and letting the brain begin to
tell stories that go negative.

Some pieces of folklore

Some of Oz’s Marathoning Rules of Ruin

1.
Forgetting that while long distance training is a marvelous stress
reducer; however once one enters their trance state, usually anywhere
from 14 miles on, the amygdala can go into flight/fright/freeze mode in
order to “survive.” In that state the neocortex will find it difficult
to regain control. The survival reaction will do just that: react.
Unless you can calm the amygdala through breathing patterns, a mantra, a
recurring thought that attracts you to the finish; you will learn a
great deal about yourself and your survival responses.

If you have had any positive or negative experiences of significant
import in the past 6 to 12 months, the emotional impact may leak into
one’s marathon time creating a negative impact:
Experiences like: new job, getting married, divorced, engaged,
breaking up with significant other, birth of a child, death of a family
member or close friend, getting fired, moving to a new house, buying a
home, selling a home, illness of family member or close friends.

Expectations of qualifying. Not running for a few weeks and expecting a
specific time as opposed to just finishing. Sightseeing the day before
the marathon. Worry over an injury; concern or fear of not finishing.
Feeling great and that this will be a personal best.

2.
Starting out 30 seconds to 60 seconds a mile faster for the first 3 to
five miles. Starting at a great pace, e.g. 8:45/mile for the first mile
but bumping it up to get mile 6 with the 7:25ers in sight. I usually
have people go back and chart their minute/mile pace the first 8 miles
to see what the truth was. The Oz Rule of Foot is that such a start
will cost 20 to 90 minutes on to one’s finish time.

3.
Forgetting that one is a novice marathoner for the first 5 to 8
marathons.

4.
Being sucked up into the psychic energy of the starting line crowd and
now staying within one’s plan. At times it is difficult as one has been
minimally running for a week. One is carboloaded or even superloaded
with energy. When fear or excitement come into play, similar reactions
take place and one can easily go into a trance state from the euphoria
of the starting line crowd.

5.
Thinking that one has to break a 3:15 or a 3:30 or a sub 3 or a sub-4.
This sets up an external barrier that one must overcome. Once over
being a novice marathoner, the marathoner realizes that the marathon is
a test to see what time will emerge from within…all things considered.

6.
Diverting from the ritual preparation for the marathon. Diet, clothing,
all bodily and mental preparations.

7.
Getting in an ADD state the night before the marathon.

8.
Forgetting that it is the sleep the 2 or 3 days before the marathon and
the food ingested 2 to 3 days before the marathon that one is running on.
Years ago, Kevin McCarey got no sleep before one San Diego Marathon and
finished under 2:16 or 2:18.

9.
Believing one has arrived because of having run so many marathons that
they can accurately predict how they will finish.

10.
Forgetting that each marathon, like other things we practice for, can
only be compared to similar experiences…after the fact. Each day,
like each marathon, is a new experience; however we like to fast-past
match the experience to something we already know or have experienced.

11.
We let explanations masquerade as fact as to why we did what we did.
The idea is to find the best explanation that leads to a successful
outcome in the future.

12.
Forgetting that the only time one is truly free from marathon training
is when the actual marathon is being run.

13.
If the spirit gives up or the mind goes to the finish line; the body is
abandoned at that place along the marathon course to struggle alone.

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