Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spectating and speed.

It's been ages since I wrote a Take it and Run Thursday post. I guess I was just out of my routine with the whole summer business that was going on.

Well, today is a crisp sunny day that feels solidly like fall so if I'm ever going to get back to a routine, today would be the day to do it.

So. Take it and Run Thursday. The topic this week is spectator tips:

Now that we're heading into the fall and winter marathon seasons, and we've talked a lot about how to prepare for races, let's talk about spectators. What do you like and dislike from spectators out on a course? Are cowbells good or bad? Do you prefer to have someone waiting with food or Gatorade? What tips can you give for people who are just out to watch the race and not participate?
I haven't run a marathon since 2004 so I have to really dig back in the ol' memory box for this one! Hmm . . . what did I like? Well, I was lucky and had some great spectators, namely my husband who mapped out several places to meet me and cheer me on along the course. He also met up with some other friends and family members along the way. To me, just having people out there for me was the best. They didn't need to do anything other than smile, wave and give me a little cheer to bouy my spirit.

But if it is specifics you want, it is specifics you will get:
  • In any race (marathon or not), having people cheer you on by name rocks!
  • So does being told that you are running strong.
  • Reminders, like "relax your shoulders" and things like that can work, too. A spectator said that to the runner just ahead of me in my 5K on Monday and I immediately relaxed my shoulders and felt looser.
  • Telling runners that there is a specific distance left or something useful about the upcoming part of the race is helpful. For example, saying, "half mile to the finish" or "there's a sharp left after this hill" is good. Saying, "you're almost there!" when you still have a way to go is not.
  • Music can be fun. In a 15K that I've run a few times, there is a tough hill just past the 10K mark. Runners are fading by that point. But there is always a couple who park their car half-way up the hill and play motivational music (theme from Rocky, maybe?), dance like maniacs and cheer people on. It's terrific!
  • Cowbells? Oh, I don't know. Yes, they show that the spectator is exuberant. But they are also loud and sharp and jarring.
So, there you have it. My thoughts for spectators.

And now for the speed. I switched my workouts again. I was supposed to do the speed work yesterday but I felt sluggish and didn't want a repeat of last week. So, I ran easy instead and pushed the speed work to today. Nothing like a little mid-week procrastination . . .

I'm going into today's workout with a MUCH better attitude than I had last week. I can do it!!!

One last thing before I sign off: Mel -- Tall Mom on the Run is having a v. cool giveaway on her site. Check it out! And have a good day, everyone!

~ Felice


Kim said...

I think I need to start bringing music to races when I am a spectator.... :)

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I LOVE my husband for the same reasons you mentioned, he does all the work then pops up to wave and play papparazzi..

I am NOT a fan of "You are almost there." Really think of something new to say...

I still remember at mile 11 on a TOUGH hill of my half Marathon there was a band playing off key wearing tie die playing "Eye of the Tiger" That was just enough to make me smile and keep running up the hill.

THANKS for the plug.. Oh gosh I need to email you..

Marlene said...

I share your sentiments on spectators. For the most part, just seeing people out on the course gives me such a boost. But I prefer when they don't lie/bend the truth. :)

Good luck with your speed workout. You can do it!

RunToFinish said...

i hate the you're almost there comments, they really drive me nutz. But people cheeering gets me going and makes me think...oh I don't want them to see me walk

Running, kind of. said...

For sure, "You are almost there" is so not helpful! I would rather hear "22 miles to go!"

My hubby and son were cheering me on Monday during my half marathon and my son said, "Mom! Mom! I thought you were winning!" The crowd laughed and so did I and then I yelled to him "Maybe I AM winning!!" I was most certainly NOT winning but it was so cute anyway! It definitely helps to have the family there to cheer you on!


Lacey Nicole said...

Hi! I saw you on the TIaRT list so I came over to check you out :)

I totally agree- having people cheer you on by name means so much!!! I didn't even think of this, but now that I think about it-- I have run a couple of races that put my name RIGHT on the bib. THAT was awesome 1. to keep and 2. for people at the race to "know" you!!!!!!

have a great day :)

X-Country2 said...

I'm a sucker for a spectator with a clever/funny sign. Points for creativity.

joyRuN said...

"You're almost there" is the worst!! Almost is never close enough for me :)

And I agree, getting cheered on by name is freaking AWESOME!

IzzyBubbles said...

Yep, I love a funny sign and also love being called by name. Best sign I saw at my last race was one that said "Mickey Mouse just raised prices again, better hurry up." Hilarious.

Meg Runs said...

You're right about people cheering your name! I never read any signs when I'm in a marathon but I can hear my name out of a HUGE crowd in a second. My brain and body really respond!

Roisin said...

More cowbell = always a good thing.

Diana said...

I've never seen a marathon or been to one. Sad, I know. I'll have to put that on my list! Especially given that it's unlikely I'll ever run one myself. Sorry! lol. Gotta be honest :)

lindsay said...

glad you are feeling better towards running this week :)

spectators are awesome! sure, they can say some irritating things, but overall they definitely help and i can certainly get over the "all downhill from here" comments.

Terri said...

You are so right about that hill just past the 10K mark on the boilermaker - it's friggin never ending!!! I do remember the people cheering at that point, I definitely needed it.

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