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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Veterans of the Boston Marathon:<br><br>
Can you provide some tips/advice on how to approach the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston?<br><br>
There seems to be a large group of KR'ers running here this year and I thought this could be a useful topic.<br><br>
Thanks!<br><br>
Course map and elevation charts:<br><br><a href="http://www.csurun.org/maps/BAA/" target="_blank">http://www.csurun.org/maps/BAA/</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've only run here once (2006.) The most common advice I got was this:<br><br>
- Take the first 10 miles <i>EASY</i><br><br>
- Do not try to PR in your first Boston. You will miss out on enjoyable moments if you take it too seriously.<br><br>
What I ended up doing is I ran with a HRM (first time ever in a marathon) and made sure I kept my HR well below lactate threshold. I didn't run my best marathon, but I did run it fairly evenly (1 min positive split.)<br><br>
I was ready for the Boston course, all except the last 3-4 miles. I was prepared to engage and tackle the Newton hills, but I was not ready for everything after Heartbreak Hill. My legs fatigued in a way different than other marathons.<br><br>
I look foward to reading the responses here as I prepare for my second Boston!
 

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Here's a nice collection of tip that I believe came from the Boomers:<br><br><a href="http://www.twentysix-two.com/boston-running-tips/" target="_blank">http://www.twentysix-two.com/boston-running-tips/</a>
 

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The Boomer tips are great. There is great advice regarding the wait at the Athletes Village and bringing garbage bags and the Sunday Boston Globe to crumple up, stuff in the bags and use as a cushion.<br><br>
I ran Boston twice (2006 and 2007) and the best advice for the first timer is to prepare, but prepare to enjoy the experience. It really is something special.
 

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Great thread, Roots!<br><br>
I'm going into this with the goal of enjoying the experience, but also not having it hurt too much!<br><br>
How much extra hill work should I incorporate in my training?<br><br>
Roots, have you run Akron? How does the course compare?<br><br>
Also for others, how does the course compare to other hilly marathons - I ran NYC and prepped for the bridges fairly well, but the hills in Boston look steeper.<br><br>
My 2 cents on the bus ride and waiting around - be prepared for the weather and just chill out and enjoy the experience. That is one of my favorite parts when running NYCM.
 

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I've run Boston once.<br><br>
Most important advice...run hills everyday in training. I don't mean hill intervals or even running hard in the hills, just make them part of your every day run. If you have a recovery run scheduled, then run them easy. On long runs, keep the effort constant and slow down when climbing. When going down, really focus on technique and make your stride quick and smooth. Practicing efficient downhill running is just as important as uphill training.<br><br>
On the course, take it easy at the beginning. That isn't too hard unless you are seeded near the front. MOPers will find slowness is dictated by the pack. Don't waste energy trying to get around people.<br><br>
Don't get overly pumped up by the girls screaming their heads off at Wellesley. It is easy to get carried away here.<br><br>
Take the first Newton hill easy, but since you've been running hills for many months, gently pick up the pace through the hills. Then glide down the back side and into Boston.<br><br>
Most important of all...enjoy!<br><br>
Victor
 

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Those Boomers tips were informative to this first-timer! Air mattresses, Boston Globes, Gatorade bottles. Is it like Survivor Hopkinton?<br><br>
I wonder if work would understand if I put a sabbatical request to go train somewhere with hills? <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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<br>
Just don't drink from any stray lemon-lime gatorade bottles!!<br><br>
The whole Boston experience (except for hotel prices) really is a lot of fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi there. Yes, I have run Akron (4 times!) It is comparable, but Boston has more downhill in the early going. Also, Akron's uphill stretch through Sand Run Pkwy (miles 16-19) is a steady climb, whereas Boston it is more like a step (up, then flat, then more up.)<br><br>
I wonder if you have ever run Hinckley Reservation (Cleveland Metroparks.) We have a classic 10 mile rolling road course. If you can run 20 there, Boston is no problems. Closer to you, if you run up and down at N. Chagrin, then Boston will be no problem for you.<br><br>
If you can, you should join my group. You would fit in as we are 3:05 to 3:30 marathoners. We meet Saturday mornings for long runs - but mainly on the west side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes! Nice tips from <b>dtoce.</b> Thank you.<br><br>
I wonder...<br><br>
Has the wave start resulted in shorter wait time in Hopkinton? In 2006 (and with the 12pm start), I only waited about 70 minutes in the athlete's village before it was time to head to the starting corral. I think the wave start has provided some relief to the bus system. I got on a bus at 8:30a - not as early as previous years.<br><br>
I brought a poncho and layed down on that for my stay. One of my friends bought a cheap lawn chair in Boston and brought it along for a place to sit.
 

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I've run Boston the past three years, and I think I finally solved it last year, at least for me.<br><br>
Here's the strategy:<br><br>
1. Pick a target time. Be reasonable!<br>
2. Add one minute. Call this time X.<br>
3. Find a set of Boston-specific target splits for X (e.g., <a href="http://www.rrca.org/resources/articles/baasplit.html" target="_blank">here</a>).<br>
4. Put them in a spreadsheet. Reweight them for overall even first/second half splits.<br>
5. When you get to mile 21 (top of Heartbreak Hill), let it rip, making up that minute you added.<br>
6. Finish with a minute-plus negative split!!!<br><br>
So -- why is this better than just using the original Boston-specific splits, for your real goal time? Well if you're not me, maybe it's not. But I found that however reasonable I thought I was being early, my calves were cramping in the hills.<br><br>
This plan forces you take it VERY easy through the half, somewhat easy through the hills, and then, once you have survived them comfortably, you can release some of that saved energy.<br><br>
I know, it sounds crazy to negative split Boston, but it works.<br><br>
Specifically, in 2007 for me X was 3:15. I ran the first half in 1:37:30 -- a WAY slow half (PR is < 1:29) -- and felt great through the hills. I picked up the pace by about 15 sec/mile after that, and finished in 3:13:43. Several people I know were in better condition than I was blew up. It is very, very easy to screw up Boston.<br><br>
This plan has the advantage that you are pretty unlikely to blow up. You might not run your theoretically optimal race, but the hills are unforgiving if you try to cut it closer and miss. Limping in the last 5 miles is not fun. Plus it's a blast flying by everybody! You will be passing people from halfway on, and they will seem like they are standing still for the last 5 miles.
 

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Roots...Here is an interesting spreadsheet to assist with pacing. I always have 5K checkpoints for my progress. Hope to see you out on the road some time.<br><br><a href="http://www.summitathletic.com/BostonMarathonPacingGuide.xls" target="_blank">Boston Pacing Spreadsheet</a> (right click to download)
 

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My 2 cents, after having run Boston 7 times (sometimes successfully, sometimes not too successfully!):<br>
1. Start out smooth...not slowly necessarily, but smooth. On downhills, learn to lean forward and keep your feet under your knees instead of out in front of them. This will help you keep your knee slightly bent to absorb some of the downhill shock without trashing your quads. For me, Boston is a tough course to negative split so don't get hung up on that...I target not more than a 1-2 minute positive split so I am running an aggressive enough first half to run a good time, but not so fast that I'm dead meat by mile 22.<br>
2. Be prepared to have a LOT more people in front of you than you're accustomed to...I have to remind myself of this every year. If you can get comfortable with that in the early miles when it's crowded and the road is 2 lanes, you'll resist the urge to go out guns-a-blazing. This isn't always easy for Boston qualified runners who are used to being near the front of most race packs.<br>
3. Train on hills (duh) both up & down. If you're stuck on a TM, stick a piece of wood under the back to simulate downhills. Practice hills late in your long runs. Tempo runs up & down hills. Just get used to them so you can use them to your advantage. If you run Boston smartly, you CAN run a fast time on that course.<br>
4. When you're running up the Newton Hills, keep your chin up. I see a ton of people slouched over, staring at the ground 4 feet in front of them. This restricts your lung capacity and gives you bad posture, so find someone about 50 yards up the road and stare at their back until you reel them in.<br>
5. Recover on the downhill of the Haunted Mile just after Heartbreak - it's like hitting the top of a roller coaster because you're chugging up the last hill, you crest it, and then you fall down the backside of it. The last 4.5-5 miles are fast so if you keep your legs under you and run smart to that point, you can pass a load of people and make up some time.<br>
6. Wellesley - enjoy it. It's a few hundred yards long, and I think of that as the starting point of when I can start to run "fast." Relax until that point, feel free to run a little harder during that stretch to show off, and then calm down again afterwards.<br>
7. Athlete's Village - find a spot and stay off your feet. Try to get your business done early and bring a pee bottle to the start (for the dudes). Bring the paper to relax and read about the greatness of the Red Sox to take your mind off the race.<br><br>
Boston is a fantastic race, if you've not done it before. Crowds the whole way, history all over the place, a great city, etc. Enjoy your hard work and training - the weather can be unpredictable, so adjust your plan based on the weather. The field in Boston can be quite gung ho - in 2004 when it was 86 degrees pretty much everyone charged out as they would have if it were 55 degrees.
 

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for what it's worth, I took my first too serious...had a bummer of a race, and felt like I missed out on the experience a little. My wife and I spent too much time walking around the two days before, took in a Sox game...and I was beat...all of the advice listed as good too! I had a huge stack of tips/articles/advice that I just devoured last year...most of what has already been said...have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Jim (<b>jjchaney</b>)- That is some intricate document/spreadsheet. I will take a closer look. I am actually running and not volunteering the Shamrock 15k this year. If nothing else, I will see you there.<br><br><b>PacerChris</b>- Thanks for the tips. Exactly the first-hand experience I am seeking. Chin up while in Newton - Check. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Especially if you start barfing - you want the spew to get some good clearance away from your body, otherwise your race photos will show the chunkage on your bib.
 

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Boston has the potential to be a very fast course - I've set PRs both of the times I've run it - but you have to be smart. You cannot afford to give in to ego or dreams on this one until very late in the race. I wholeheartedly agree with bhearn that you want to pick a reasonable and honest time that you think you can run the race in. Use recent race results and don't allow yourself to justify why they actually don't quite live up to your abilities because of ____ (weather, time of day, didn't get enough sleep, etc.). Be as accurate as possible. Use this time to set the splits you want to hit. I recommend setting paces on an even/slightly negative split concept. I ran negative splits both times and it was amazing. Both in terms of feeling strong at the finish and passing people left and right from mile 18 on.<br><br>
In terms of the race itself, here's how I'd approach it:<br><br>
1. Set 3-5 mile target splits rather than mile splits. The course rolls throughout, so you will be all over the place if you try to worry about one mile at a time and it is likely to really frustrate you.<br><br>
2. Do not allow yourself to get carried away at the start. The helicopters, crowds, combined with the harsh downhill make it really easy to go out too hard. Do not give in. Let the bazillions of people fly by you. Remind yourself that it will feel much better to get them all at the end of the race. You will.<br><br>
3. Carry a throw away water bottle the first few miles so you don't have to fight the crowds at water stations.<br><br>
4. No matter how good you feel, do not allow yourself to pick it up until mile 16. Wellesely is the true danger zone. The crowds are phenomenal, the men are showing off, and you figure you are still feeling great and it's halfway, so you can afford to pick it up. Do not give in.<br><br>
5. Relax through the Newton hills. Keep up a steady effort, but try not to force it. You will have plenty of time to get in your racing groove when you are done with them, but if you wage war in Newton you are likely to pay for it around mile 23. Just focus on passing people left and right, running steady and with determination, and enjoy the individual crests. If you have run the race right, these hills really are not so bad.<br><br>
6. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT hammer down the steep downhill out of Newton and past Boston College around mile 20 trying to make up any time you lost in the hills - it is still far enough from the finish that you will pay dearly for this if you do it. If you are patient and wait the one additional mile, you will be flying past people the rest of the way.<br><br>
7. Once you are out of that final harsh downhill, tune into the crowds for the first time and use them to fuel you to the finish. This is where it becomes a true race and you should work to pass every person you can. View it as a 5-mile race and run as hard as you can.<br><br>
8. Enjoy!
 

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Great info - thanks!<br><br>
you forgot tip #9:<br><br>
Do not try to run as fast as hrmay does in the trials...
 
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