You’re signed up for Valley 7 Lakes Marathon.  That was the easy part.  What to do next?  So many questions!  How do I train up properly?  What should I expect on race morning?  What is the best way to address my nutritional needs?  How do I dress?  How do I Run To My Potential?

You’ve read the books.  You’ve asked your friends.  You’ve googled until your googly-eyed.

Let’s start with your training.  At the top of the list-What is your goal?  Is it to complete your first marathon?  Is it to set a personal best?  That you’ve selected “The World’s Flattest Marathon” is a definite plus towards your effort.  If is this your debut it will become the marathon by which you judge all others and we are doing our “flat” out best to make sure your efforts are rewarded.  If you are chasing personal bests or Boston qualifiers, we are doing our “level” best towards that end as well.  We have designed and created Nebraska’s only completely closed road marathon.  The importance of this can not be understated.  Wide open, asphalt country roads are better than sidewalks called trails.

The cannon fires in just over 8 weeks, your longer runs should be easier every weekend.  How long is long enough?  You should be able to comfortably cover 75% of the race distance at an easy, conversational pace.  If you’re running the half 8-9 miles, for the full optimally 18-20.

You should be dialing in your preferred energy/calorie/electrolyte replacements.  Gels?  GU?  Figs? Tailwind?  Gatorade?  Water?  You must practice what you reach! Use it on your long runs and see how the tummy reacts.

You should also have your “kit” figured out.  Don’t buy a brand new pair of shorts or shoes or jog bra or even socks for the race.  Wear them and make sure nothing distracts you from the morning’s effort.  This includes using lubrication to prevent chafing.  And sunscreen to protect against the sun.  Sunglasses and/or ball cap to protect your eyes.  But again, practice, practice, practice.

Bring a pair of cheap gloves that you don’t mind tossing.  Pin or wear your race number up front, please don’t cover up with additional layers.  If you want to wear an old t-shirt and/or sweats while warming up be prepared to hand off to a friend or donate to our DC West community.  Don’t be surprised if you see a few runners wearing oversized trash bags to keep warm if necessary.

Every single intersection on the course will have Level III barricades, a uniformed Douglas County Sheriff, and a Heartland React radio operator.

We will have aid stations and porta cans at every 5K interval.

The Omaha Sports Commission has sponsored mile flags indicating miles 1 through 26.  Omaha Steaks has donated burgers for our post race feed, be sure and eat immediately after finishing for proper recovery.

We will have light post race massage available courtesy of Valley Chiropractic and Makovicka Physical Therapy.

Do some light, very light, stretching following the race.  Plan on taking several days off from running.  I urge athletes to take a 10 day recovery period if running the full, you might get other suggestions (or be told I’m full of sh*t), please let my 40 years experience be your best opinion.

Please check back here frequently for more tips on successful marathoning.