It is April 10, 2018, as I am writing this. As I look out the window from my desk, I can see snowflakes gently dropping from the sky. As a life-long Vermonter, I am not surprised; as a nearly 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.
We are seven weeks out from the Vermont City Marathon and none of us has any idea what the weather will have in store for us on race day. What I can tell you after competing in some form (relay or full) in the past 29 PUBVCMs 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.
The 2016 edition of the marathon 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. Beginning last year, the race started an hour earlier in the hopes of avoiding the heat, thereby giving all runners a better chance of finishing. The start time will be the same this year; 7 AM.
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.
In summary: adjust your pace, your clothing and your fueling and hydrating to accommodate the weather. 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. Let’s hope for a constant tailwind!
April 16-April 29