It is April 23, 2017 as I am writing this. As I look out the window from my desk, I can see the sun and the azure sky for the first time in a week. As a life-long Vermonter, I am not surprised; as a virtual life-long runner, I am pretty ticked off. You would think that I would be accustomed to the capricious nature of Vermont’s weather patterns; maybe I am, but it doesn’t make it any easier to train when the weather can be mild one day and cold and rainy the next.
Five weeks from this morning is the Marathon and none of us has any idea what the weather will have in store for us on Marathon Sunday. What I can tell you after competing in some form (relay or full) in every marathon, is that you can’t trust the weather; I have run in rain, snow, sleet, heat, wind and every combination in between and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it except continue to put one foot in front of the other.
Last year’s event reached critical mass with the heat and humidity. With only the safety of the runners in mind, the race was stopped. Many were disappointed, but understood the rationale; there were others who were down-right angry. Fortunately, no runners were seriously affected, although the local emergency rooms were busy. This year, the race will start an hour earlier than in the 28 years previous in the hopes of avoiding the heat, thereby giving all runners a better chance of finishing.
If the weather on race day is less than ideal, then don’t fight it. Don’t push through a headwind just to try to keep pace with what you’re used to running; don’t pass up the aid stations on a hot day because you aren’t feeling thirsty, yet; and certainly, don’t try to keep up with your usual pace on a hot day, because you will blow up. If your primary goal is to complete your first marathon, then coming up with your Plan B will afford you the opportunity to do so.