For me, the Monster Mash in Dover, DE, will be my 48th stand-alone marathon and my 58th including Ironman marathon segments.
Needless to say, I have learned many lessons from my marathoning, many of them what not to do.
Here are several thoughts that I hope my fellow runners find helpful, even if they are just reminders:
PREPARE AND THEN CHILL
Prepare thoroughly the day and evening before the race.
Chill on race morning - don't fret: You've done the work and the hay is in the barn, as my long-time coach Jim Spivey says.
Wear something you can toss after the start - it likely will be chilly standing around before the gun goes off.
DON'T GO OUT TOO FAST!
Remember not to burn yourself out early. Best if you can warm up for a mile or two, then go out at what you think is your target pace and adjust accordingly.
To run the race in 5 hours, you need to run an average of 11.26 per mile.
If you want to run a finishing time of 4 hours and 30 minutes, you'll need to average 10:17 per mile.
If you want to run 4 hours and 15 minutes, run an average 9:43 per mile pace.
If you want sub-4 hours, run 9.09 pace.
If you want 3:45, run 8:34 pace to get your goal.
If you want 3:30, 8:00s will get you there.
For 3:15, run 7:26 pace.
For 3:00, run 6:51 pace.
You may find maintaining pace late in the race tough. This is where your mileage base and any speedwork you may have done will help pull you through. "Pain is temporary..."
BANKING A LOT OF TIME IS RISKY
You can take advantage of earlier and flatter sections to log some slightly uptempo miles (but don't overdo it!) with the knowledge that any hills and the warmer temps later in the race will likely slow you down. But I can tell you from much experience that banking too much time will increase the pain and difficulty later in the race and can lead to a big crash if you are not well enough trained for the higher pace.
Be sure to drink and fuel on schedule.
HAVE FUN, NO MATTER WHAT!
And, most of all, whether you make your goal, enjoy the race, getting your medal and the post-race party. You will have earned it!