Vermont City Marathon Goals & Plan

I seriously can’t even believe it’s time to write this post. I can’t believe that in 3 short days, I will be running my first marathon. Over the course of the last 19 or so weeks, I’ve thought A LOT about my goals for my first marathon. I’ve talked it over with friends and family and Coach Suz. People have asked a lot about it. So this post has been percolating for a while.

I’ve been pretty clear from the outset that my main goal, and the single thing that I really set out to accomplish, is crossing the finish line. No matter what happens, as long as I cross the finish line, I’ll be happy. But of course, because I’m a runner, and runners are crazy, I have other goals.

  • Finish under 5 hours. Based on my longer training runs, this is totally possible. To come in under 5 hours, I’d need to run with an overall pace of 11:26ish, which I’m reasonably sure I could do as long as something doesn’t go catastrophically wrong. ANYTHING under 5 hours would make me over-the-moon-ecstatic.
  • Finish healthy and uninjured. These last few weeks of training have been plagued with issues, and I would really like to finish this marathon without a recurrence of said issues. I have a 10k race in July that I’m really excited about, and my first relay race in August, so I want to be healthy and able to train for those races after I recover.
  • Finish with a smile. I hope to be able to really enjoy my first marathon, and I want it to be an overall positive experience. I want a nice picture of me crossing the finish line at least looking like I had a good time. If I have enough energy to fake it, I’ll know that I’m not going to die.

So now, the plan for race day.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Athleta Be Free Shorts
  • BibRave Tech Shirt
  • UV Buff around my neck for sun protection (can also wet it down to cool me off)
  • Saucony Mirage 4 shoes
  • Balega socks
  • Lynx ports bra
  • Brooks Running hat
  • OrangeMud VP1

How I’m Fueling:

  • Jelly Belly Sport Beans
  • Nuun in my OM bottle

I will eat my sport beans every 5 miles, and take a sip of Nuun every mile; it’s looking like Sunday will be very hot and humid, so I’ll need the electrolytes. I assume I can refill my bottle at hydration stations, but if not, I know they’ll have both water and Gatorade every 2.5ish miles on the course, and I know I can tolerate Gatorade, so I don’t have to worry about tummy issues. Pre-race, I’ll probably have a bagel with cream cheese, and maybe have a small snack about 30 minutes before the race. I’ve been finding myself very hungry during a lot of my long runs, so I’m trying to make sure I’ve got plenty of fuel in the tank.


As of right now, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to run with the 5 hour pace group. I like to start out nice and slow on my long runs, and generally once I get warmed up, I speed up a bit. I think if I just start easy with the 5 hour group, it will be possible for me to speed up and leave them later, so that I can get in under 5 hours. I have also programmed 10:1 intervals into my Garmin so that if I completely blow up, I can fall back on a run/walk routine to get me to the finish.


I’m not sure what I’ll eat immediately post-run, but I do know that Ben and I have a date at Burger Barn for dinner, where I will be INHALING a Nutty Goat and some fries. And some beer. And then I plan on sleeping as late as I want on Monday, and sitting on my butt as much as possible.


I plan to take at least 4 full days off from running, but I don’t plan to just loaf around either. I’ll hit up a yoga class on Wednesday, and I’m going rollerskating with my friend Sharon on Thursday. I’m hoping for a short, easy run on Friday, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. There will be lots of stretching, foam rolling, walking, and Epsom salt baths. I don’t want to take too much time off, because I have a 10k in July to train for, but since I’ve never run a marathon before, I have no idea how long it will take for me to feel ok again post-race, and I don’t want to rush back into running and end up injured or burned out.

So there you have it. Marathon goals and race day plan. Wow. Yikes. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.

Are you a list-maker/planner like me?

19 thoughts on “Vermont City Marathon Goals & Plan

  1. charissarunning says:

    Yay!! Good luck! I’ve been hearing all about the expected heat for this race but unfortunately we can’t control the weather. That said, just take care of yourself! You’ve got a plan for hydration and fueling but if you’re feeling really zapped of energy, take more of something at the aid stations if you need it. I know people say don’t use something on race day that you’ve never tried but when getting through a marathon in hot, humid conditions you may find you need more than originally planned and at the point it’s better to take a little stomach trouble than to suffer something more serious from heat stroke. Um also, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be CRAVING those fries at the finish – good choice 😉 And most importantly, HAVE SO MUCH FUN!! ❤

  2. txa1265 says:

    Awesome goals – though I always put your #2 as my #1 🙂 I am excited to track you on the run and see you kick butt on Sunday.

    It is smart to be thinking about the heat and humidity – and don’t stress about having to take potty breaks due to drinking too much. Worry more if you feel like you’re drinking a lot and NOT having to pee! Drink, Drink, Drink!

    And I also think the post-run planning is very important – Suz had a post the other day about the prep for the 2nd marathon, and I feel that the post-marathon stuff is under-appreciated. You have gone through a big training cycle and are about to accomplish a huge undertaking … it is important to reflect! And rest … heck, even I take at least one day off after a marathon before starting to ramp back to my mileage 🙂

  3. dgobs says:

    That burger sounds AMAZING and like part of the best post-marathon treat ever! 🙂 Good luck this weekend- run strong, enjoy your accomplishment, and you got this!!!

  4. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    I can’t believe your race is here!! Good luck!!! I can’t wait to read all about it. Your long run paces have been great, I believe you will have a good race. Hopefully the weather will give you a little break and not be as hot as they are predicting. Have fun and enjoy your post race food!!

    • Rae says:

      Thanks, Fallon! The weather is the one thing I’m truly concerned about, but it sounds like the race directors have taken every precaution to keep us safe.

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