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Final thoughts for the runners

Posted by Jack Fultz  April 17, 2009 10:25 AM

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I figure this is a good time to share what I said to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team regarding some final reminders for Monday's race.

For the last few weeks, I've lamented that "The Hay Is In The Barn" ­ -- meaning that the hard training was over and it was time to taper. Well, now it is time to feed the horses.

How to best go about that:

1. Relax -- take some deep breaths ­-- and enjoy yourself on Monday. Youšve done a lot of work to be here. Savor the moment.

2. The race on Monday is not your final exam. It is your graduation celebration.

3. For the first 10K of the race, if you don't feel like you're going too slow, you're going too fast. You need to be running so relaxed and comfortably during this phase of the race that it will feel too slow ­-- especially holding yourself back on the steeper downhill sections. Shorten your stride and save your quads, but it's OK to take slighter, quicker steps to keep your pace.

4. Use all the downhill sections in the first 16 miles to save energy rather than to make up time. It is very easy to run fast here, but don't be tempted to do so. Your quads are working overtime to catch and brake you with each longer stride you take. You'll pay for this over the final five miles ­-- with a very high interest rate.

5. Think of the Marathon as a 17-mile light training run and a 9-mile race. Think of the Firehouse turn at 17-plus miles as your halfway point ­-- at least from an energy standpoint. You want to still feel comfortable and in control here.

6. "The Newton Flats." Think of this section, from miles 16 to 21, as the 'Flats' rather than the 'Hills.' Only about 1.75 miles of this 5-mile section are significantly uphill. Just get over the hills with minimal effort and damage to your body. Then, on the longer flat sections, get into a good rhythm and pace where you're starting to make up some of the time you may have given the course over the crowded first few miles and on the uphill sections of ''The Newton Flats.''

7. From Boston College -- a.k.a. the top of Heartbreak Hill -- you have five miles of primarily downhill running to do. Who can not enjoy running five miles ­-- downhill -- ­with a million screaming fans cheering you on?

8. Even before you finish the final five miles, you get to high-five the cheering section at Mile 25. From here on in, you'll barely feel your feet touching the ground.

9. Finally, remember to smile big for the cameras as you cross the finish line with your arms held high!

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2 comments so far...
  1. "Start slow; then taper."
    Dr. George Sheehan.

    Posted by Dave Colinan April 17, 09 07:17 PM
  1. Forget playing it safe. Leave no bullets. Go for it.

    Posted by Pete April 19, 09 02:54 PM
 
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  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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