CIM: Goals, Mantras & Race Day Strategies



Ever since I started training for CIM people have been asking me what my goal is. For the longest time my response has been “I’m going to see how my training goes and figure out my goals closer to race day.” But with race day only 5 days away and all of the hard work behind me I have solidified my goals for Sunday.

That being said my goals are a bit more nebulous than usual. I’ve found in the past that having a rigid time goal is not a good idea for me specifically. If I was ever off my goal pace I would start thinking “why should I continue to try if I’m not going to hit my goal anyways?” and if I was comfortably running faster than my goal pace I would be waiting for the other shoe to drop and would even slow down in anticipation of hurting later. So either way setting that rigid time goal would backfire. 

This training cycle I’ve been working on my mental training a lot and I’ve been really happy with how my improvements in the mental side of things has positively impacted my race experiences/performances. With this in mind I decided to set more flexible, and not entirely time-related goals for myself in this marathon.

My main goal at CIM is to cross the finish line feeling strong and having run a smart, evenly paced race. I want to be present in the race and compete to the best of my abilities on that specific day. I know this comes across as a little “hippy-dippy” but I also know that I’ve had my best races when this was my mindset. 

Of course there are some time goals in my mind but they are very wide and if I achieve my goal above I will truly be happy with whatever time I end up with.

B GOAL – what I know that I am capable of given my training cycle


A GOAL – my dream goal, I know I CAN run this time but it’s just a matter of the stars aligning perfectly for me on race day… good conditions, good competitors, fresh legs, etc.

<2:45 (qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon)

These are big, scary goals. Especially given that my current PR is 3:06 but after talking to my coach, my co-workers (experienced runners/coaches) and Henri I know that they are achievable and within my grasp. Would it be absolutely incredible to run <2:45? Yes! Will I be totally brokenhearted if I don’t? No! I’m just excited to get out there and see what I can do after putting in a lot of hard work!


Before each race I come up with a mantra for myself that will help me through the race. For my LA Rock n Roll Half I broke the distance into 3 sections and had a different mantra for each stage of the race. These mantras worked out so well that I’m using them again but just scaled the distances up to the marathon.

mile 1-13.1 –> RELAX

mile 13.1-20 –> GRIND

mile 20-26.2 –> COMPETE

In the last 5K of the half I found myself saying over and over “you can do ANYTHING for 20 minutes” and I plan to tell myself the same thing on Sunday.


My main strategy is to stay in the moment and “run the mile I am in”. I plan to go out conservatively but maintain contact with the group of women that will be around me as well. There is going to be a 2:45 pacer in our corral but I’m still not sure if I’ll start out with him or not. As tempted as I am to just run my race there is something to be said for being pulled along by a group. So basically the plan is to run by feel and push myself throughout the whole 26.2 miles!

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