Universal Advice from an Elite
Rizzo’s universal advice can be used by every runner
Patrick Rizzo is one of the most decorated and versatile distance runners in the United States. In December 2017, he ran 2:17:27 at the U.S. Marathon Championship in Sacramento, California. This made him a four-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon; a remarkable and almost unprecedented achievement which solidifies his running legacy. To honor this accomplishment, Colorado Running Magazine named Rizzo its runner of the month. Rizzo is competing in the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program on race day. He’s sharing some tips that have led to his success. His universal advice can be applied to all runners!
An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 15
by: Patrick Rizzo
Race day for the Austin Marathon (Feb. 17th) is rapidly approaching. We’re in the final month of training now. This is where the fatigue sometimes gets the best of us. The mileage starts to think it’s winning. Nerves start to sneak into our thoughts. Taper madness is trying to set in. All of those things are normal though. It means you’ve been working toward a goal and you care enough to push yourself in order to achieve it.
Congratulations on getting this far! This is the metaphorical peak of the hill and now it’s time to come downhill. With that said, mistakes can still be made. Having covered the marathon distance 20 times myself, I’d like to share some universal advice. This universal advice is applicable to runners of all speeds and experience levels. Implement this universal advice to run your best and have a positive experience at the 2019 Austin Marathon.
Decide what you’re eating the night before the race and practice eating that same food before quality days. When a friend asks what you thought of the course, it’s better not to answer in terms of how frequent the port-o-potties were spaced on the course. Especially if it’s within your control to practice.
Sticking with the specifics, have you tried nuun hydration? nuun performance will be the on-course hydration. Same with Gatorade gels and blocks. There will be two stations on the marathon course handing out nutrition. If it doesn’t suit your preference, plan ahead! Experiment with what DOES work and how you can carry that on race day. Gels pinned to the inside of shorts is a great way to carry your calories.
What kind of shape are your shoes in? Will they make it to race day or are you 50/50? Now is the time to plan ahead. Nothing is worse than befriending the medical staff because your forefoot grafted to the insoles of your new shoes (yes, that happened to me at the London Marathon in 2013).
Know your pace and stick to it. You shouldn’t be training more than five seconds faster than race pace and that’s even limited. If your regular runs are faster than goal marathon/half pace, either your goal is too slow or your training is too fast. Also, on race day, it’s easy for emotions to start out high (and take your pacing plan right with it). Prepare ahead of time to start at a pace that you plan to still find achievable in the last 5K.
HAVE FUN! Really. If training has become “work” then you’re doing it wrong! I train 100 miles a week, with a wife, a kid, and a full-time job. It’s still something I “get to do” and not “have to do.” Dads and moms, you can’t be afraid to get that running stroller out for the easy days and chat with the little one while you’re out there. My son and I have solved the world’s problems while we run together. It also gives me time to bond with him and gives my wife a break to do her workout. Fun comes from having balance and perspective.
An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.