Marathon Runner's Care Package, help please!
October 18, 2006 1:17 PM   Subscribe

My roomate will be running in her first marathon this weekend and she is getting the jitters. To help her out (emotionally) I want to put together a " care package" for her flight (cross country) and/or the time before/after the race. What can a put together (low cost- Im a grad student) that will give her heart the urge to run, her mind some confidence and will just let her know I'm thinking of her?
posted by Meemer to Human Relations (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Give her something small she can tie around her wrist, pin to her shirt or put in her pocket that will help remind her of you. Encourage her to look to it for strength or something like that.
posted by dead_ at 1:21 PM on October 18, 2006

make her a cloth sign/patch or something with her name on it pretty big to pin to herself, then everyone will cheer for her as she passes them. it is quite fun to have a constant cheering section.
posted by annoyance at 1:26 PM on October 18, 2006

There are a bunch of new running-related books out there... that Dean Karnazes book is kind of cheesy, but inspiring. I heard that the Pam Reed book is pretty good as well.
posted by ph00dz at 1:38 PM on October 18, 2006

Go to a running store and buy her some gels and sports bars. Even if she doesn't use them during the marathon, she's bound to use them sooner or later.
posted by OmieWise at 1:44 PM on October 18, 2006

Give her a watch -- it can be secondhand, a cheapo, et cetera -- with the hands set to 3:30, 4:00, or whatever her time objective is.

Marathons aren't 100 yard dashes. They're long, long hauls, covering hours of time. The best way to get over the jitters is for her to remember that she'll have plenty of time to orient herself to the race and her pace during the first hour or so. She won't have to be in perfect form when the gun goes off. Hardly anybody is, except professionals.

The watch should be a good reminder of this.
posted by Gordion Knott at 1:53 PM on October 18, 2006

She'll definitely want to wear something that has her name written in big, easy-to-read letters. I try to go to the marathon every year, and I've definitely seen people who seem to be struggling perk up when they hear someone cheer their name.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:24 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd advise against getting her bars and gels unless you know she's already been eating them (and importantly which brand and flavour) with no sore tummy. With nervousness and the physical stress of flying and then running, new foods could have an adverse effect on her.

Also, personally, I hate wearing t-shirts that have my name on them (if only I could run without my bib number too). It's really cool to hear "Come on Johnny" the first time 5mi in, but I find when I'm 21mi in and dying and blistered and wishing it to be over, the last thing I want to hear is "Come on Johnny, you're looking good" for what seems like the thousandth time.

If you're going to make her a t-shirt, I saw a few at some race with the following printed on the back: "26.2 - The Distance By Which Runners Are Measured" I found it really motivational. If you get anything printed, maybe think of getting it printed on the back of the shirt. That way it's seen by other runner...who really I think are the people that can push you the most in a marathon. They're going through the same experience you are. They can chat, push, and pull you through. (Also, anthing printed on the front can get covered by the bib)

Get her a big water bottle. Something she can have on the plane and something she can carry with her in the lead up to the marathon. She's going to get dehydrated on the plane, and she needs to hydrate well the days before the run and the days after. Decorate it with stickers or something if you like.

Tell her to relax and have fun and not to worry about her time. Make sure she knows it doesn't matter how fast she runs, that if it is her first marathon she should walk through the water stations so that she is able to get three good gulps of water whether she's feeling thirst or not. If the run is big enough, there will probably be pace bunnies. Let her know it's okay to spit on the street if she has to and pee in the woods if she has to. She's a marathoner, and she has these special privileges.

if you can, while she's running check the race website. some have realtime interval reporting. Even if they don't, many have the results up soon after finish. When you see she's finished give her a call on her cell and say how amazing she did. If her splits are up, tell her how amazing those times were too.
posted by dismitree at 4:35 PM on October 18, 2006

If you want to motivate her, give her an incentive. If she finishes, you will do the laundry for a month. If she beats 4:00 you will clean the dishes for a week. If she beats 3:30 you will do dishes and shopping. That sort of thing.

Make a nice card with the list of incentives. I completed a half-marathon (after training for 4 weeks only) on this basis and I can tell you it got my ass in gear. (The only difference was the incentive was tied to my two loves at the time, my girl friend and beer. I still love beer.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:55 PM on October 18, 2006

Sneak something into her bag, or better yet somewhere where she won't see it until she is halfway through the race. Its the suprise that does it.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:24 PM on October 18, 2006

What about some nice mix cd's to listen to on the plane and the morning of?
Two cds/mixes: one to calm her nerves and one to pump her up.

I used to extensively compete far from home and music always helped to calm me and distract my from my nerves. Sometimes listening to a familiar song or cd would help with feelings of loneliness and remind me of home, thereby grounding me and restoring some confidence when I needed it.
posted by Formiga at 10:43 AM on October 19, 2006

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