Manitoba Marathon Plan / To Take List

So I figured with the race less than a week away I had better sort out my gear and plan for getting to the race, etc. (Note – this was originally written going into the 2013 Manitoba Marathon so ignore the weather related and goal setting – I have added some edits in red below for changes I have made to my running since this race (June 20, 2015))

Current and recent forecasts have been pretty consistent with 30-60% chance of showers for race day with temps around 20-22 C as the high and around 15 C around dawn.  So even with a light rain potentially occurring weather could be very good – I will take some rain over 30 C and high humidity when running any day.

On my last outdoor run I had forgotten my water bottle belt and found that I liked not carrying the weight of it – not that it is too heavy but with where the bottle sits it can get a bit annoying during a long run.  So I decided to change things up a bit with some new equipment received from the WPS Half Marathon and purchased separately.


  • Goofy running hat – nice and light and will help keep my head from frying (still use)
  • Compression running shorts – wore these for the Goofy in January and the WPS Half in May – find they are really good and help with chafing and muscle strain over a long run (still use)
  • Gym shorts – over the compression shorts – preserve some modesty maybe (still use)
  • Short sleeve running shirt – this will be a bit different – due to where and when I have been running my races over the past several years I have always been running in long sleeves – the short sleeves will be interesting – hopefully my GPS watch doesn’t chafe.  Plus I have always counted on the long sleeves for sun protection – the short sleeves will have to be factored in for that as well (I find I still prefer long sleeves for longer runs – the sleeves roll up easier and it helps to stay a little warmer pre race)
  • Garmin GPS watch – Garmin Forerunner 201 – a bit of an older unit but works really well still and I like being able to check my pace quickly (as compared to looking at my android device in its armband) (still use this old thing and it still works really well)
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 phone – new addition for me (got just before the WPS Half Marathon) – use it for a music player and will let the myTracks application run as well to record the run to look at after all is said and done.  Plus I have a run/walk cycle app on the tool that I will find useful later on in the run when I start to tank. (definitely still use this – don’t use it in the arm band any more though – I use an armored case in a holster)
  • I will have the phone in a new armband that I got just a few weeks ago – made by Belkin specifically for the S4 – it is nice and made of neoprene so survives well.  It can be a bit tight to get the phone out but that shouldn’t be a problem unless I want to take some photos with it during the run. (have stopped using this)
  • Headphones – with volume switch and microphone (switch to ones that have a loop that go over the ears so I don’t pull them out by accident so easily)
  • WPS Half Marathon running bib belt – this was a finishers’ gift from the race and seems well built so I am going to try it instead of the water bottle belt I had been using.  It has a nice little pocket for some small stuff to be carried and belt loops for gels.  I am also putting on 4 small gel bottles in holsters for flat coke (for a sugar and caffeine hit) – these worked well for me at the Goofy in January and during the WPS Half so I have decided to add 2 more for a total of 4.  This should help me avoid crashing around mile 14-15 like the Disney Marathon by having one or two in the first half and still having a couple to keep me going in the second. (I use this bib belt almost every race now – so much easier and cleaner than pins)
  • Water bottle – I will bring a disposable water bottle to carry for the first while and toss it when it is no longer needed.  Judging by my last 20 mile training run this would be around mile 17 or so but might extend further because of the available water and Gatorade stops. (I use an hydration back pack now instead made by High Sierra – carries 2 litres that I fill with flat coke for the race – Gatorade really messes with my system)
  • Gels – I haven’t been training with gels (last one I had was during the Disney Marathon) but I am bringing 4 to help out as needed. (don’t use these anymore – system can’t take them)
  • Chews – trying something new here too – kind of a gummy shell with gel in the middle – worth a shot and easy to carry in a pocket (don’t use these anymore – system can’t take them)
  • Spearmint Leaves candy – used these on my first full marathon and found they worked extremely well but got away from using them – will bring a ziplock with enough to have one every one to two miles or so.  The nice thing about them is the sugar coating gives an immediate spike of energy while the body works on the rest.  Plus the mint flavor can be a pick me up as well. (don’t have any of these right now – still kind of work for me so might pick some up again)
  • Baby wipes – always bring some in a ziplock just in case – clean is good and they will slip nicely in a pocket when folded (definitely always carry these on any run over 2.5 hours no matter where I am)
  • Camera?  I have a good camera on my new phone but it can be hard to get out of the case quickly so I will need to decide if I want to bring our point and shoot camera or not – will need to make a decision on this one. (I don’t bother with a camera on the local races – now that I use a holster for my phone I just use my phone if I want to take a picture)
  • Running shoes – royal blue and crimson set #1 – my current outdoor running pair – lots of miles still left on them but nicely broken in – just right for running a long race (there were referring to Nike Pegasus shoes that I used almost exclusively but with the changes Nike made for the 31 version I have had to switch – I now do all my longest runs and races in Hoka One One Cliftons)
  • Nipple protectors – I have had bloody nipples after a race where it rained, it is something I would like to avoid again if I can…(use simple round small bandages now – much cheaper and work just as well)
  • Sunglasses (yep)
  • Some Kleenexes or a face cloth – to help get sweat out of my eyes and for cleaning my sunglasses if they get too sweaty (yep)
  • Disney pieces of magic tokens – back on my last Goofy Challenge I had done the half portion carrying a Pokemon card my son gave me and I realized I needed something to carry for my daughter and also my wife – so in the end we got 6 and I carried them with me on the full portion of the Goofy Challenge and also on the WPS Half Marathon. (carry these for every race now since Goofy Challenge 2013 – getting well traveled)

Now the Manitoba Marathon is going to have something new for me as well this year – I haven’t done a Manitoba Marathon since 2006 but in the two I did run I was able to just pull up in a close parking lot and leave my prep and after race stuff in my car.  That looks like that will not be possible and I will have to do a park and ride to the start line.  This means that for my 7th marathon I will actually have to do a bag check for the first time.  So with that in mind my checked bag will have:

  • Don’t Panic towel – was a birthday gift and is now my default after run towel in my vehicle
  • Small bottle of coke to get the calories back?
  • Small bottle of water?
  • Sunscreen?  Might be required but maybe not – will have it out and ready and make the decision on the morning

The Plan: (the bus pick up / park and ride plan has not changed – did the same thing for 2014 as well and plan to for 2015)

So the plan will be to get to the packet pick up on Friday afternoon if I can and then I don’t have to worry about that on the weekend.

On race day I will plan to be at the park and ride location before 6 am (so much better than 3 am for Disney bus pick up) to make sure I am at the start and ready to roll for marathon start at 7 am.

As I just said marathon start is at 7 am and my hope is to go relatively strong for the first half (near 2 hours for the first half) and then evaluate from there how I am feeling.

Without any competition or crowd to drive me I did my 20 mile run outside in around 3 hours 40 minutes (this also included 7 miles on really loose gravel and dirt) – with decent roads, a crowd, fuelling more and a drive from being in a race I hope to be closer to 3 hours for the 19 to 20 mile mark.

Depending on how I feel at that point and where I actually am at the 3 hour mark I see a few possibilities:

  • Be near 20 miles and feel strong – at this point push as hard as possible because new personal best could be in the works (4:15:01 is current personal best)
  • Be near 19-20 miles and feeling it – do run / walk cycles if necessary and try to get new 2nd best time (current 2nd best time is just under 4:30)
  • Well less than 19 miles and really feeling it – run / walk cycles for sure and do everything I can to be under 5 hours – this should be the worst case scenario based on recent runs and how I have been doing lately on my outdoor runs.

The second option is probably the most likely but anything under 4:45 is going to be good.

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