Practical Preparing for My First Marathon

Preparing step 1 remove kitten from shoe

At this point the Glass City Marathon is under 100 hours away. The training preparation has been underway for months. Now is the time to trust my training and get out of my own way. To do that, I am preparing all the practical affairs of running my largest race to date.


The first thing to do is prepare for preparing. That may sound circular, but to ensure you have all the elements needed in place for a successful race, you need to identify them. I’ve been thinking about these elements for a while. I’ve run previous, smaller races successfully and have learned a lot about what works. Each time is a learning experience that can improve the next if you observe and make notes.

The Checklist

To make my checklist, I visualize the time leading up to and through the race, including recovery and exit from the area shortly after. This can help you to find the things that are unique to you and your situation and prepare accordingly.

For myself, I will be working late the night before the race, possibly as late as midnight. So, while meal planning began at the start of the week to prepare myself, the immediate period of concern begins Saturday before work.

I’m running a special event at work, several really. This event involves food and a lot of running around to answer questions, distribute materials, and generally administer the event. I know that I will want my vice of a Monster energy drink during the later event. My rest before a 5 am alarm when I am working until midnight will be of the utmost importance. This leads me to consider the first section of my checklist: Sleep

  • No Monster or other caffeine after 6 pm Saturday
  • No food after 10 pm Saturday
  • Lights out and no screens once home
  • Bed at earliest possibility

All these steps are to let me try to get as restful a sleep as I can in the few hours I’ll have. I will actually want to be fairly tired and ready for bed when I get done with Saturday.


You might look at this and wonder ‘What about alarms, laying out clothes, ect.’? I should be done preparing before I leave for work at noon on Saturday. Towards that end, what will I need the morning of the race that I can easily have staged? Let’s imagine that morning and make some highlights we can work with.

When I wake up to my alarm set for 5 am, I will want to wake up quickly. Drinking  bottle of water will help with that and re-hydrate me from the hours of sleep.

I’ll want to quickly get my race breakfast into my system. This time that is around a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons of honey.

I’ll then jump through a shower and shave my face before dressing in my race clothes. That has it’s own checklist, but should be folded up and standing by for me.

Finally, I’ll check on my gear, also with it’s own sub-list, and head out to the site, The University of Toledo.

Let’s look at this section of checklist then.

  • Alarm for 5 am Saturday, with a 5:05 am back-up on separate device
  • Bottle of water at bedside
  • Sufficient Greek yogurt, honey stock on hand
  • Fresh towel and razor set out
  • Race Clothes set out
    • Running Briefs
    • Running Shorts (Grey Starter)
    • Running Shirt (Grey Compression with Vents)
    • Running Socks (White New Balance)
    • Running Shoes
    • Hair tie
  • Check and load gear
    • Electronics
      • Charged Phone
      • Charged External Battery
      • Charged Fitbit
    • Charging Cable
    • Earphone
    • Wallet and Keys
    • Med kit
    • Recovery Shake
    • Long-run Pouch (Maybe)

Here we have worked out the things that need preparing before I even leave for work Saturday. When I come home, I’ll go straight to bed. When I wake up, I’ll give my self every time advantage and energy by having everything ready to go with just a cursory final glance.

The Long-run Pouch is a maybe as I’ve not decided on using it or not to hold the external battery and phone. I know I will not be using it for the liquid or other storage capacities as it gets heavy and slows me down that way.

There are other things I’ve already put on and checked off my lists, such as making a music playlist, updating and setting up apps, and planning my last 72 hours of meals.


I hope to be out the door and on the way to the race at 6 am. That actually feels like a pretty close window to find parking and make it to the appropriate starting area. I live no more than a 10 minute drive from the University of Toledo Campus. Yet, they  expect several thousand participants and volunteers at the event.

I have a plan for how to get to Campus and where to park there. I have a loose fall-back plan as well, but that may involve a warm-up run just to get to Start on time. At least I will already have my race bib from Saturday morning packet pick-up.

That was all the easy stuff…

Finally, I’ll just have to do the thing and run the race. I’ll have to be back at work a couple hours after I finish the race too, and I have made some preparations for that already, including having some very understanding co-workers and customers.

I am excited and I hope you are too. The RaceJoy App for Android and Iphone will be used for this race, so if you want to see updates in real-time, my bib number is 1114.  Cheer all the runners on through social media on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #RunGlassCity. Cheer me on through comments, the RaceJoy App, 2017miles Facebook page, or @RobJelf on Twitter.

Plan for a Typical Mileage Week, Created!

A Goal without a Plan is a Wish

I’m a man with a plan.

You don’t accomplish big goals by winging it. Improvisation, flexibility, and instinct all have their place in the day-to-day realities, but to make it to the end requires a plan. I have a plan.

First, we break the goal down. 2017 miles in one year comes out to around 5.5 miles a day, or  38.5 miles for a 7 day week. Let’s try to see what a typical week can look like, and then we can use that template as a starting place to train for specific races as we slot them in. Races will generate excitement, act as milestones, and give me a chance to run with others and celebrate.

A minimum commitment

When researching how to plan a running goal like this, I asked the folks over at the Hive (their forums) and a gentleman from Germany, .robert, chimed in with some great advice. He says: Continue reading “Plan for a Typical Mileage Week, Created!”

2017 miles in a year is MY goal. What are YOUR goals?

Take a shot on your goal.

‘That’s too much! I can’t do that!’

I have heard people say things like this already at the mention of my goal of running 2017 miles over the course of the next year. Yes, it’s over 5.5 miles per day if you divide it evenly across the year. Every. single. day. And if you feel it is out of your reach…

That’s completely fair!

Nobody knows you better than you do. I may suggest you push yourself out of your comfort zone, and want to inspire you to your own greatness, but knowing your limits is priceless. You can’t set your sights on surpassing them if you don’t see where they lie. No-one is able to run a good, injury-less marathon without months of training for it. Even running a 5k race is a massive challenge and risk for someone coming off the couch. I can’t recommend it. I can recommend a strategy for choosing something reasonable to you so it becomes achievable.

Finding YOUR Goal

Continue reading “2017 miles in a year is MY goal. What are YOUR goals?”

The Challenge: Running 2017 Miles in One Year

Last year, 2016, held some personal victories for me. My proudest is the loss over 50lbs, 8 inches off my waist, and running in my first ever half-marathon. I owe a lot to running, a habit I cannot allow myself to lose. I plan to run in the local spring marathon, the Glass City Marathon, in late April, but it that goal seems too easy for me to be deeply challenged by it.

Enter 2017 Miles.

My goal for the year 2017 is to log at least 2017 miles of running. I hope to do it in various places and with various people and to share my thoughts, progress, and tips with the world at large while I do.

What does 2017 miles look like?

Continue reading “The Challenge: Running 2017 Miles in One Year”