I love Mainly Marathons. I fell in love with the series on Day 2 of the very first series I did in 2013. I’d found my tribe. All the crazies that were running around in circles for a ridiculous number of miles each day? These are my people.
I’ve now done four full series and parts of two others. I’ve done 25 half marathons and 2 marathons with them (and now I’m looking at doing a 50K with them in the fall.) Obviously I love running races with Mainly Marathons or I would not go back each year. But there are some things I’ve learned while doing these races that are useful to know going in. And if you haven’t decided you want to run a series, go read my 5 reasons to run a Mainly Marathons series and then come back.
- The courses will be longer than 13.1 and 26.2. Count on it. Some of this is because it’s impossible to run the tangents and you are running that same poorly run tangent multiple times. But it’s better to be long than short when it comes to counting state races, so it’s all good. Just know it’s going to happen, accept it, and enjoy your race.
- There will be one race where the weather is the biggest challenge. Sometimes the whole series will be a weather challenge. I’ve run in 9* weather, suffered through a hot and humid race, and run through shin high puddles in a torrential downpour. Shockingly, the worst weather at my most recent series was just really windy. Compared to some of the other Mainly Marathons races, this was nothing. Embrace your inner badass and enjoy the challenge.
- There will be a course you don’t like. All of the courses have their pluses and minuses and all of them are unique. There are cement courses, paved courses, dirt paths, grass paths, trails, gravel, and combinations of all of the above. Some courses are flat as a pancake. Some have wicked hard hills. But here’s the thing: I can tell you which courses I loved. But those may not be the same ones you love.
- You will probably gain weight. Norm’s cooking is amazing. And the food table has all the foods you could possibly want. It’s like running an ultra, except you aren’t actually running an ultra (unless, of course, you are doing the 50k). In addition to my staple race food (rice krispy treats), I also ate paninis, quesadillas, pancakes, french toast, cookies, various soups, fried rice…
- You need to book your hotels early. Mainly Marathons mostly races in small towns. Many of these towns have only a few hotels. Sometimes these hotels sell out. I’ve been on the wrong side of that equation a couple of times and I don’t recommend being there. But if you book early, you can often get awesome accommodations for really reasonable prices.
I’m already trying to figure out my next series. Eventually I will do them all, but it’s getting harder and harder to schedule a week away with all of the kids’ activities. Given the withdrawal symptoms I’m having though, I’ll find a way to do another one before too long.
Have you ever done a multi day race series? If you have, what have you done? If not, why not?
And don’t forget to join us for Tuesdays on the Run! This week we want to hear about the favorite race in your area. Also, I’ll be updating the list for June this weekend. Feel free to throw ideas my way.