How to WIN a marathon

Remember last vlog I mentioned that I had the idea of running a marathon every second weekend, during the summer of 2019? Well guess what, it is also the time where I won my first ever marathon.

Hi, my name is Heiko, and I want to share you with a idea if you just cannot seem find the correct venue for a marathon. You know how it is, sometimes the venue is too far, or there is going to be too much traffic.

If getting there and going back takes more time than the actual marathon, it’s not so much fun. Or the last minute entry is quite steep, and the course is not too interesting, or challenging.

I was facing one of those situations, late at night, hunched over my MacBook…. One browsers tab had marathon venues, and the other was google maps. Reading about the marathon, and then on the other tab checking out the distance, travel times, and route options.

And it was one of those weekends, where the only race within 3 hours driving was a 4 x 10KM course. And from the looks of it, not a really interesting terrain to run on, nor was there anything interesting to say about the event itself. And somehow, I didn’t feel like spending 6 hours in the car, and just to run 4 x 10K.

It was then that my daughter looked over my shoulder, saw or understood my predicament. She asked me: dad do you think you could run a marathon distance on our local athletic track?

Of course, I proclaimed. I didn’t know why she asked me, and she said it’s just whether it wouldn’t be too boring…. Whether I would be mentally up for the challenge… ouch… of course I was.

Then I realized, this is actually a brilliant idea. (How can I make it sound like I came up with it) Seeing that I am the race organizer the successful outcome lies entirely in my hands.

Plus running on the track means I could really use this as a session to hone in on developing that perfect pace, or not the perfect pace, but running at a constant pace. You have experienced this yourself, at a race start your first couple of kilometers are usually a bit erratic. You start off slow due to the amount of runners’ ahead of you, then you try to overtake some slower runners’ ahead of you so you speed up, and it takes some time to just get your heartbeat back to normal, focus, and find your desired pace.

I wouldn’t be facing that, and could focus entirely on completing various segments at a specific time.

And anyway, better than a long drive. The track is just 2 minutes from my home.

So the route planning was simple… haha… and the official start of my marathon was 6:00 and EFT, no not emotional freedom technique, estimated finish time, was 9:30. Back home by 9:45, showered and ready for the day by 10:30.

That sounds like a solid plan.

A good nights sleep and off I went at 5:40 with one large water bottle and two energy gels…. Date check, nope they hadn’t yet expired.

Never used to care about the expiration date until I once ate half of a energy bar at the 24KM mark of a marathon, and seriously contemplated just curling up on the roadside and waiting to see the light… and my dog from childhood… calling me.. taking me away from this misery. LoL… seriously always check the expiry date.

Now the weather on the 9th of June was made for running. Partially cloudy, but juuuust enough sun to keep you running in comfortable 22 degrees. Perfect.

Churchbell rang at 6:00, and the soon to be proclaimed winner of the Künzelsau marathon started the race. Not just age group, but also 10K winner, 21K winner, and overall winner.

What a feeling… I now know what it feels like to be a Olympic champion. Ok, just kidding, about the feeling. Not about the marathon win though.

Every lap heading up towards the east, I saw the sun go higher. Then heading west, I had a glimpse of my personal time being displayed. My local church clock, accurate displaying the time within 5 minute increments.

7:00 Church bells rang … still feeling good… one point I had thought about, is how accurate is my keeping track of the actual distance run? Yes, I could count each lap, but I doubt that actually counting 105,5 laps would be possible for me, and who knows how accurate the GPS actually is? Sometimes you can read comments of runners on some or other internet forum complaining that either the marathon was longer or their GPS was inaccurate.

Actually its neither of the two, rather its due to some interference right in the beginning whilst the GPS locates satellites. The margin for error as it turns out was quite slim, so shout out to Suunto. No, I am not endorsing the product, I am just voicing my experience with the watch.

8:00 Church bells rang again… I am still in the lead… Now one benefit of spending this time alone without needing any concentration on your route gives you ample opportunity to fully cous on three areas.

1. Your running posture.

2. Your pace.

3. Your thoughts.

To keep all three points in mind whilst participating in a actual marathon event is nearly impossible. There simply are too many distractions.

So often body posture changes, shoulders droop, or the head hangs, eyes looking down. And the steps tend to become less dynamic as mileage increases and tiredness creeps in.

This then leads to the pace deteriorating and of course your subconscious notices this. Starts finding more validating signs that your body is tired, trying to convince you, by amassing this huge list of undeniable evidence that you are tired.

Which leads to the third point, your inner dialogue. The way you talk to yourself. Because you pass the same 100 meter marks every 4x times whilst running, this is the ideal place to first learn how to understand what it is you are thinking about, and should it not be useful or helpful thoughts, replace those thoughts with constructive ones.

But hang on, what’s this…?

8:10 One more person joins me on the track. Is he a contender, a late starter? How long will he last? Suddenly there was complexity involved. A whole new scenario. Remember I wanted to win this thing. My fellow runner sticks to the outside lane. I mean I am pretty sure this guy didn’t even give a thought to me running, but in my mind, he was taking up a lot of thoughts space. Will he also head into the inside lane? What if he does speed work, and I get overtaken? Will I keep my pace or will I get pulled into also running faster?

But before things got totally out of hand, the Sunday morning runner must have felt my winning vibes and left the track after about 5 laps.

I was in the lead again.

I hear the Church bells, must be … wait for it…just these next 200 meters and I will have a full view of the Church clock…. Yes, it is 9:00. And I am still leading.

Now I was hoping that my eldest daughter, the one who’s idea it actually was….would come and at least watch me run one or two laps. Perhaps even give me a thumbs up? But… nothing.

No-one, no-where in sight.

9:15… here is where I realized that today was a slow pace, definitely I could have set a faster time. The ease of running without external distractions really allows you to run at a faster pace. Those seconds or hundredths of seconds when you run a route along a pavement, or on a forest trail where you think, should I turn left or right. Or where you get distracted, perhaps because you are wondering about something you saw, all those seconds add up, and will lead to a faster pace.

Now seeing that it was the last couple of rounds, I pick up the pace ever so slightly, realizing that victory is definitely in sight.

But what a surprise, as at 9:33… I cross the line. Hmm. That is strange, where did I loose those three minutes? Or what happened to my pace? Anyway, doesn’t matter.

My first marathon win, overall winner, done and dusted.

Podium finish except … there wasn’t a podium. But what a great feeling of accomplishment.

Walking home, people going about their way on a typical Sunday morning.. .and I am thinking, I seriously must be the only one who ran a marathon here this morning. Big smile on my face.

Now what I explained in a humorous way, or at least tried to bring some humor into it, took a lot of effort. Keeping the pace on a track is obviously easier than on a route. But the constant calculation of pace, speed and distance, looking at the church clock, my personal time keeper, did make it for a run which demanded a lot of concentration.

But the biggest benefit of all… of running 105,5 rounds around a track… is that it leads to a disciplined mind. Whereby you start to tune in and get really focused, because after the second lap, you know the whole course in and out. No surprised. So, you can then just get into a hypnotic state, letting your subconscious maintain the pace.

The other benefit is that you can really use this time to change certain beliefs that you have.

If for example you are aware that whilst running you are constantly remembering that angry exchange of words you had with a stranger, or a loved one. Perhaps you got into a whatsapp battle, and it really ticked you off… something petty, but it keeps on coming up whilst running. This is the perfect time and place to clear that thoughts. To get it processed, freeing up valuable space in your mind which you can fill with thoughts that encourage, motivate, and build you up.

There is another video where I explain this exactly, it is called the RESTEP method. A effective tool to quickly change your own hindering thoughts, and thereby allowing you to get into a more powerful state.

That’s what makes the running even more enjoyable, and you can use the endorphins to further work on your future goals, hopes and dreams.

Now if you ask me would I do it again. Run 105,5 laps …. YES ! Definitely. Would I go for a faster time. Yes, the personal record could be broken in such a running environment.

Now regarding what my daughter asked me: Was it boring… not for one single step.

A deeply satisfying experience, and if you decide to do it, the best part is you will have no complaints about the race organizers or organization.

Find more tips like this on hypno-running.com or in our online mental running tool course. A course designed to give you mental strength, like how to build perseverance, tenacity. It is a in-depth 4 hour video course, along with a easy-to-read guide to understanding mental techniques for runners’ in depth. It comes, along with our R.E.S.E.T.® branded coaching certification.

Go for it… just do it … and remember…

Take it easy.

Seeing that last week we looked at a populous but rather low-key event, today let’s look at a 15.000 participant city marathon that makes you smarter. What, yes, I said “a race that makes you smarter”. But more about that later.

Hi my name is Heiko, founder of the R.E.S.E.T.® coaching method for advanced endurance coaching, and today I will share with you my race experience so that if you are in Ulm during September, looking for a marathon you have sufficient information to decide whether this race is for you or not.

How come this race would make you smarter? E=mc2 ….I will answer that question first. Well no, not the theory of relativity, but the name.

To me it seems obvious if you have a Einstein finisher medal, and you have run 42,2KM in Einstein’s footsteps so to speak something must rub off isn’t it?

Well fact is Einstein was born there, but of course emigrated to Switzerland, and then later on to the united states, and that’s where he published over 300 papers on various smart people theory stuff. But hey, if you run this race you can honestly say you have walked or followed in the footsteps, of Einstein.

The race.

Approximately 600 marathon runners’ start the race at wait for it 9:10. This is important because in case you use the full hour to time your race … for example you want to finish in 4:00 hours, so 10KM in 60 minutes, or a pace of 6:00 minutes per KM, or a 9:39/ mile pace, means you will look at your watch at 10:00 and only be at KM 8… so don’t panic you have those extra 10 minutes.

The start and finish are at two different locations, and there is a bag drop. Plan more time, as this is a big event, and there are many runners, half marathon, 10K, Walkers so you definitely want to avoid last minute stress.

Ulm can be quite foggy at times, especially early mornings. I mention this because the start was one of the coldest, I remember. Right next to the river Danube, and as usual you stand around waiting for the start.

Finally, you get going, a wide street past the main car park…. and then head out in a easterly direction, following the river, still cold. The field does spread out somewhat but depending on what your estimated finish time is it’s a good idea to pass the pacers already now.

What I mean is, if you want a sub 3:30 and are behind the 4:00 hour pacer, pass the group during the first 3KM’s, because after that the road becomes a bit narrow and there are tight corners as you enter the suburb’s.

In case you don’t speak German and you wonder what the runners’ are talking about, it usually is whether we are currently in the state of Bavaria or Baden Württemberg. As this line gets crossed numerous times during the marathon.

You head away from the Danube, and by now you don’t feel the cold as much anymore. Then, in Pfuhl there is not only a aid station but also a big band, and is full of extremely cheerful supports.

Which sort of distracts you that you are running on cobblestone. Oh, in case you don’t like that, there is more cobblestone coming up ahead. But heading underneath beautiful old archways, picturesque buildings should distract you from the sometimes really tough stretch of pavement.

Now you are running along the river again, heading west. About 10KM you see the Ulm Münster the famous Lutheran church, which up until the completion of the Sagrada de Familia was the tallest church in the world. Wikipedia says so…

Then you cross the Adenauer Brücke.. quite famous, but not because of him being Germany’s first chancellor, nope, actually its famous because for years the local and state governments where arguing over who will pay for extensive repairs.

Whilst crossing the bridge you have a view of the first half marathoners that are close to their finish, and you can prepare yourself because here it will become a bit more crowded and twisty.

At the 25KM I am passed by some incredibly fast runners’, I am talking about really impressive speeds. And then I realize it’s the 10 000 meter Elite runners’ and they are just warming up.

Thank goodness we leave the city, this means the halfway point is either passed or ahead… you are not sure. Yes there are signs, but due to the distractions, the crowds, the people it might just be you loose focus. Then heading through lots of green scenery, heading further out of the city, past a huge power station. Its here where you can re-focus your mind. Let your thoughts get clear again, and plan your strategy for the next kilometers coming up.

Using such peaceful sections of the race are a great way to reprogram and reset your concentration.

And then you run a sort of a loop, and pass the impressive Wiblingen Abbey from I think about 1000 and then expanded in 1700.

The race becomes a bit less crowded, and you head out back into a easterly direction, all the way to Pfuhler See, and Offenhausen.

Now remember I said that the course is as flat as a ironing board.

By now I wish for a uphill or downhill, just for taking on a different posture, and suddenly I noticed the wind picking up, and now you are well into the race, and I started to get cold. So with some extra speed, I headed into the last 10KM of the race.

Back on to cobblestone, which suddenly I realize is costing me quite some energy. Or was it the long stretch with the wind, hmm who knows. Thank goodness the spectators and skyline distracts me up until I realize this last section is twisty… where is the finish … come on it must be here somewhere… and the last 400 meters there is one of the nicest finish straights… although you feel the incline, but the crowds cheer you along.

Interestingly of the 772 marathon runners’ only 637 finished, according to the race organizers website. Not sure why such a high DNF rate. Anyway I got my sub 3:30 finish, and yes, habving that medal at home makes me feel smarter.

Haha

Find more tips like this on resetrun.com or in our online mental running tool course. A in-depth 4 hour video course, along with a easy-to-read guide to understanding mental techniques for runners’ in depth. It comes, along with our R.E.S.E.T.® branded coaching certification.

My name is Heiko.

Take it easy.

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