Tip #6: Get Excited for the All-New Start Line!

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Today’s tip is: Get Excited for the All-New Start Line!

Tip 6 - New Start Line

In addition to having an all-new combined start/finish line at North Bank Park in the Arena District, all 18,000 participants will have the same Start Line Experience.

Just before 7:30 a.m. on race morning, we will take a moment for the singing of our National Anthem, then fire up lasers, set off fireworks and release corrals A and B for the Marathon & ½ Marathon. After this first wave of athletes crosses the Start Line we will move corrals C and D into place where they will listen to the singing of our National Anthem (the first time any of us can recall a race doing the song twice!) and receive a sendoff with lasers and fireworks as well!

Athletes can also expect the following from the Start Line:

  • Early Corral-opening time – 5:45 a.m.
  • Expansive Athlete-Only area
  • More restrooms in each Starting Corral
  • Heaters in the start area (like the heaters you see on restaurant patios)
  • More than 300 volunteers to help line everyone up
  • Thousands of watts of power in a sound and lighting system upgrade

Have any questions about this year’s Start Line procedures? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

Tip #5: Rock and roll while you race with live music along the course!

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

When you’re a few miles in and your initial adrenaline rush begins to fade, it’s our job to keep you energized and entertained throughout the rest of the race.

Lucky for you, today’s tip will help: Rock and roll while you race with live music along the course.

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From the punk, pop and alternative sounds of Awful Nothings to the best “80s hair band in Columbus”, Stiff Kitty, to the dance beats from OK, Maybe .. and SWAGG in Celebration Village, there will be nearly 100 live bands, entertainers and radio stations lined along the course this year to keep the party going.

You can find a complete list of entertainers and where they’ll each be performing here!

 

Tip #4: Know Where to “Go” … Literally (Porta-Potty Locations)

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing daily tips to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

When you’re planning to do a marathon or ½ marathon, “Where are the bathrooms?” is not an uncommon question. We get it: When you’re in the midst of 26.2 or 13.1 miles, this is a critical nugget of information.

That’s why today’s tip is: Know where to “go” … literally.

Tip 4 - Porta Potty

There will be more than 250 restrooms at the start line this year – including more in and near the corrals, as well as volunteers to help direct you to them.

If you need to make a quick pit stop in between miles, porta-potties are located at each of the 17 fluid stations along the course (Here are maps of their exact location for both the full and half).

Tip #3: Become a Children’s Champion!

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

To a marathon or ½ marathon athlete, there are few things greater than that moment when months of training, prep, sweat, tears and dedication pay off as you cross the finish line. One thing that will make that moment even greater? Knowing those 26.2 miles (or 13.1, for our half-marathoners) will make a difference to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the 2014 Miracle Mile Patient Champions.

Tip 3 - Children's Champion

So, today’s tip: Become a Children’s Champion and race for the kids who can’t.

Children’s Champions are Columbus Marathon participants who choose to run, walk or cheer for the marathon or 1/2 marathon while fundraising for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As a Children’s Champion, you’ll have the opportunity to reach beyond your personal training goals and support another mission: To cure, mend and comfort each child who walks through the doors of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, regardless of their diagnosis or the family’s ability to pay. Plus, on top of the funds you raise, The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will be matching the first $100,000 in donations raised by the Children’s Champions.

Visit the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Children’s Champions website to get started. Once you’re there, you can sign up as an individual, create a team or join an existing team, plus help recruit additional Children’s Champions and raise money for the hospital. Here’s how to sign up:

  1. Go to “Join Children’s Champions
  2. Once your page has been created, you can begin to spread the word about it, recruit team members or ask for donations

Want to race for a reason this year? Join Children’s Champions today! Need further convincing to sign up? Meet the 2014 Miracle Mile Patient Champions, the miraculous kids that will be on each mile of the marathon on October 19th, supporting you every step of the way.

Tip #2: WE WANT YOU to Become a Columbus Marathon Volunteer!

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


Putting on a marathon and ½ marathon for 18,000 participants is no small feat. We’ve been hard at work since last year planning and coordinating to make this year’s race a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved, but to ensure everything goes smoothly on October 19, we need a little outside help.

We are looking for 3,000 generous individuals to help us create the best race day possible, so today’s tip is: Become a Columbus Marathon volunteer!

Tip 2 - Volunteer

Signing up to be a volunteer gives you the opportunity to help with every aspect of the race – from handing out t-shirts at the Health and Fitness Expo to keeping athletes safe and giving out water along the course. If you’re not running or walking this year but still want to play an important role, volunteering is the way to go!

Well, what are you waiting for? Visit our volunteer page to learn more and sign up.

Meet this year’s Spirit Award Winners

On October 19, there will be 18,000 people with 18,000 stories to share about why they are running or walking the course’s 13.1/26.2 miles. Some will be achieving a life-long fitness goal, some will be retaining tradition by running the Columbus Marathon for the 35th time and thousands of others will celebrate the triumph of mind, body and spirit that has come through training for this year’s race.

Since 2007, the Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon has recognized individuals who have overcome major obstacles while training. The Spirit Award is given to those whose strength; dedication and perseverance motivate us, inspire us and oftentimes, moves us to joyful tears.

Though there are 18,000 stories to share, we will share those of this year’s Spirit Award winners in our blog through the weeks leading up to the race. If you see them at the race, give them a high five!


Johnita Anderson, Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Johnita Anderson will step up to starting line of her first ½ marathon weighing 50 lbs. lighter than last year after changing her life through exercise and healthy living. Her dedication to health and fitness is contagious and she has inspired friends to exercise, stop smoking and eat better. Her daughter, one of three people who nominated Johnita for this year’s Spirit Award applauds her mom’s never ending optimism and perseverance during her good health and weight loss journey. “She has made many sacrifices to maintain on the path of this journey. My mother continually proves her dedication and commitment attending her fitness classes and running daily.” In her new chapter of life Johnita found true love and got married in September.

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Barry Baker, Loudon, Tennessee

Barry Baker will participate in his first ½ marathon on when would have been his 50th wedding anniversary. After losing his wife Becky to an 18-year battle of cancer earlier this year, Barry began walking as a way to cope with his grief. He had his eyes set on commemorating Becky’s strength and spirit on the date of their anniversary at the Columbus Marathon. On Sunday, Oct. 19, Barry will be joined by family members to remember Becky and to prove her mantra, “you only fail if you don’t try.”

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Introducing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” + Get to Know the revamped course for the 2014 Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon (Tip #1)

It’s that time of year again, marathoners: Today marks 26 days until the 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon! We can’t wait to see all 18,000 of you at our brand new combined start/finish line at North Bank Park next month, but until then, our main concern is giving you all the information you need to be as prepared as possible when you get there.

Beginning today, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” – including helpful tidbits like what to wear on October 19, when to arrive at the starting line and where to find fluids, porta-potties and more along the revamped course. We’ll include images with each tip too, so be sure to sharetweetpin and Instagram them to help us spread the word. And, as always, if you have questions on anything we share, please let us know in the comments or ask us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

So, let’s get started!

Tip 1 - Know the course

If you haven’t already heard the news, then this is BIG. With the 35th anniversary of the Columbus Marathon comes a revamped course with a new home for our start and finish line (which are combined!) at North Bank Park. Prepare for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon by knowing where exactly you’ll be running or walking come October 19. To help you with this, our first tip is to get to know the ins, outs, ups and downs of this year’s new course, including the all-new combined start and finish line.

Here are a few resources to help you get started:

  • COMBINED START/FINISH: One of the most exciting features of the new course for 2014 is the combined start/finish area. As the new home to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, North Bank Park will host the combined start/finish line as well as celebration village and all of your marathon needs in one area.
  • COURSE MAP: The 2014 full marathon will run through Bexley, Olde Town East, by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, German Village, downtown Columbus, Short North, The Ohio State University campus (including the ‘Shoe!), Upper Arlington, Grandview Heights, Victorian Village and will finish in the Arena District. The half marathon will follow the same course, also ending at the Arena District combined start/finish line. Consult the Columbus Marathon course map for a bird’s-eye-view of the new route and download PDF versions of the full marathon and half marathon courses here.
  • COURSE ELEVATION CHART: Refer to the bottom of each course map for a better idea of where to expect increases in elevation throughout both the half and full marathon course.
  • COURSE VIDEOS: Want a more “behind-the-scenes” overview of the course? Checkout new videos for an overview of the full and half marathon course on Vimeo and see what changes the 2014 course has in store for you below: 

Have additional questions about this year’s course? Let us know in the comments below, or share with us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll be sure to get them answered!

Train Your Brain: Building Your Mental Muscle

Dr. Chelsi Day and Dr. Jennifer Carter of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Psyching Team share how to exercise one of your most important muscles and train your brain for race day.


If asked how much time, energy, and effort one spends physically training for a marathon of any distance, I am sure little time would pass before the runner responded with an emphatic “A LOT!”. But as many well know, training for a race is not a purely physical demand. In fact, a popular saying in the running community is that “running is 90% mental and the rest is physical”.

So…how much time do you spend mentally training? It may be easy to overlook the mental component of training, even in an activity that is frequently described as 90% mental. Are you willing to risk the hours of long, hard, physical training as a result of not being mentally prepared on race day? 

What is Mental Training?

Mental training is the practice of mental skills such as goal mapping, imagery, and relaxation techniques that are useful during practice and competition. Regularly practicing mental skills can help athletes respond to adversity and reach peak performance. Athletes of all ages, skill levels, and sports have found mental training helpful. Mental training really does work! But it is important to remember that, like physical training, mental training requires practice. When coupled with physical training, mental training can help put you in the best position to perform to your potential.

How to Get Started

If mental training is new to you, knowing how to start or what to do might be overwhelming. Here are some quick tips on how to begin building your mental muscle as you move forward:

  1. Make sure you engage in mental training regularly—think of it as another training run. You wouldn’t skip many training runs at risk of being unprepared on race day. Treat mental training the same way!
  2. Become more aware during training. Recognizing how you typically behave and think while exercising can help identify where you may need to start implementing mental skills. Notice your breathing, your thoughts during training runs, or how you set your goals. How would you answer these questions when you performed your best? What about when you performed your worst?
  3. Keep it simple! Trying to do too much, too soon may backfire with mental training. Start with incorporating a few basic mental skills, like goal mapping. Think about your ultimate goals for race day, ways to check your progress to that goal, and strategies you can implement every day to help get you there.
  4. Don’t be afraid to seek out more information. There are many people willing to help with mental training! The Columbus Marathon Psyching Team will be there as race day approaches to aid in answering any questions you may have.
  5. Have fun! Mental skills training should be fun activities that enhance your performance. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change up your mental training routine!

The Pysching Team – Dr. Chelsi Day and 20 volunteer psychologists and sport performance consultants offer you mental strategies before, during, and after the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon & 1⁄2 Marathon.
 
Launched at our event in 2013 by Dr. Chelsi Day, the Psyching Team has worked with more than 600 individuals, groups of athletes and workshop participants. Runners and walkers have expressed specific interest in learning about relaxation and setting realistic goals as well as ways to mentally prepare for race day.

Murphy’s Law is in play here…

This post is the fourth in a series of guest posts by Eric Motter. Read his firstsecond and third in the series. Check back every few weeks to read more about his journey as a Nike-sponsored athlete and his marathon training progress.


“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law

When I last left you, I was experiencing a rough summer. The brutal humidity was making my long runs a challenge, my trainer – Randy “Bones” Benedict, runner extraordinaire and the Manager of Second Sole in Gahanna – was tormenting helping me through tortuous speed workouts, and I was about to test myself to ensure I was within reach of being on pace for a sub-2:00 half marathon.

A few things have gone well for me since then:

  1. I ran my next long run at about a 9:10 pace. I need to run a 9:08 pace on race day, so I’m close. Maybe it’s somewhere deep down inside…
  1. I upgraded to Nike Vomero 9 running shoes. I have had several pairs of Vomeros over the last couple of years and over time have eliminated the shin splints I used to have when my mileage got heavier. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
  1. I got a new Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch, although this won’t really pay off until winter. You know how your old GPS watch takes a few minutes to be found by the satellite? It typically happens when you’re standing in sub-30 temperatures waiting to start a run. Well, this one syncs in about a second.
  1. I continued to ramp up my speed work and actually look forward to those runs now. Although it’s not showing up in improved long run times, I feel like I’m able to do runs that I wouldn’t have been able to do 10 weeks ago, and the speed work is what is driving it. 
  1. I upgraded my running socks to Nike Dri-Fits. Those things are designed to be so snug that each individual sock specifies whether it is for the left foot or for the right. Think about the shape of your foot and why that would be important for a runner… It’s a bit of a no-brainer. Why has nobody thought to do that before now?

Unfortunately, everything else has pretty much gone south. Instead of spreading these horror stories out over several blog posts, I’ll just relay what I’ve learned all at once.

  1. It’s not a good idea to take a Mexican vacation in the middle of training. Bones allowed me to back down my training to where I just needed to sweat for 30 minutes each day rather than log long miles (hello beach yoga!) while on vacation. That was great, but unfortunately I returned from Mexico with a mini Montezuma’s revenge. I never quite felt sick, but my stomach wasn’t settled for almost a week. It was tough to log quality miles under those circumstances.
  1. Sometimes Body Glide isn’t enough. Take a look at this picture.

Now look again, but closely this time. Hint: That’s not a pink corsage. I sent this picture to Bones from my hotel room in Connecticut after a tough 5:00 a.m. treadmill run.NCHCM

Our actual text conversation:

Me: Need something better than Body Glide <pic attached>

Bones: Holy $#%@! Almost dropped my phone! You just made my morning.

Can you feel the sympathy in his response?

  1. Hill workouts should never be done when the temperature is north of 80 degrees at 7:00 a.m. When the post-run cramp hit me I was on a conference call. I actually had to pretend I didn’t yelp in pain (“Ugh, sorry… I was just clearing my throat…”) and mute the phone so I could lay on the floor and cry while stretching out my cramping calf.
  1. It’s not a good idea to put your training log folder in the seatback pocket in front of you on a plane when you’re drafting your blog. You might forget it. It also wasn’t a good idea for me to have a life insurance application that contained an identity thief’s wish list in the same folder. I’d love to share details of some of the good and bad days I’ve had, how my diet affected certain runs, funny things I’ve thought about and scribbled on my training log immediately after finishing a run, but that info is somewhere in an airport dumpster.
  1. This summer in Ohio has not been conducive to long runs. I haven’t had a good outdoor long run since my test run in late July. I’m hearing similar stories from other runners this summer.

To summarize, I’m off track right now. 1:59:59 seems like a pipe dream. Bones has me doing more speed work for the next few weeks, and hopefully I can catch a break and have a long run on a morning where it’s 60 degrees and cool. Until then, I’ll just keep checking my credit report and continue to bleed from odd places.

Running and Sleep

Because sleep is an essential part of any training regimen, Dr. Chelsi Day and Dr. Jennifer Carter of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Psyching Team share how to put common sleep-related issues to rest. 


With the physical demand of training for a half or full marathon while still fulfilling family and employment obligations, we often let sleep be the first thing to suffer. The two work together in that, at times we sacrifice sleep to get that training run done without disrupting our schedule while at other times we are so worried about getting it all done without dropping the ball that our mind races, keeping us awake. For some of us, we struggle with true insomnia which impacts it all. What we know is that inadequate sleep can cause significant negative impact on both physical and psychological functioning. Use these tips from Clinical and Sport Psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Carter of OSU Sport’s Medicine to help establish a good routine during training and increase the quality, and maybe quantity, of your sleep.

Five Tips to Catch Some ZZZs

1. Establish a Bedtime Routine - While it is difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, experts recommend this routine to help sleep. If you have insomnia, try to keep your wake-up time constant but go to bed one hour later for a few nights. Some people enjoy a nighttime routine that includes a warm shower, a hot non-caffeinated beverage, reading, or writing in a journal. Avoid watching TV or using electronics right before bed, because blue light suppresses melatonin.

2. Chill Out – Disrupted sleep is so frustrating. And tensing up or trying to force sleep makes it more difficult. Use diaphragmatic breathing and muscle relaxation techniques to unwind after a long day. Sport psychologists can make a relaxation audio file for you (many can also be found online). Trust your body to slip into sleep when you’re ready.

3. Think Accurately About Sleep – There are myths that interfere with sleep, like, “I have to get 8 hours or tomorrow will be ruined!” Realistically, many people function quite well on less sleep. Our bodies will eventually catch up on sleep if we don’t worry about it too much. Look at insomnia as a gift, allowing you to get things done or attend to a pressing issue. Keep a notepad or journal near the bed to write down worries to be addressed while awake.

4. Interfere with Ruminations – Do you have worrisome thoughts playing in a loop in your mind? Dr. Marsha Linehan advises interfering with those ruminations by counting 1-10 ten times. The first time through, pause after one. The second time through, pause after two, and so on. This technique makes it impossible to worry by occupying your mind. Another tip is to splash cold water on your face. Or, label your worry as solvable or insolvable. If insolvable, go deep into the worst thing that could happen and imagine coping with it.

5. Other Sound Strategies – Get more balanced exercise. Limit caffeine later in the day. Keep your bedroom cold, dark, and quiet to enhance some good zzzzs. And, avoid using alcohol to fall asleep (alcohol actually interferes with REM sleep).


The Pysching Team – Dr. Chelsi Day and 20 volunteer psychologists and sport performance consultants offer you mental strategies before, during, and after the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon & 1⁄2 Marathon.
 
Launched at our event in 2013 by Dr. Chelsi Day, the Psyching Team has worked with more than 600 individuals, groups of athletes and workshop participants. Runners and walkers have expressed specific interest in learning about relaxation and setting realistic goals as well as ways to mentally prepare for race day.