Boston Marathon

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Tinman
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Boston Marathon

Post by Tinman » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:21 pm

If you are like me, a fan of the sport, I get excited every year about the Boston Marathon, which this year is one week from today (always on a Monday, Patriot's Day in Massachusetts). I understand that Meb is racing again, and I think he is or will be 40 years old. He's amazing, much like Bernard (Kip) Lagat, who not only run fast but are positive role models for other people.

I am excited to see how a couple of my runners do in the race. Boston is a challenging course, and you have to be patient in the early miles that descend. If you run too fast on those downhill miles, your quads (muscles in the front of your upper legs) get sore and can't do their job later in the race as you go up the Newton Hills. There's a fine line between going just fast enough and too fast!

I'd like to know from runners who have participated in the Boston Marathon or watched it in-person what they think. Any comments about the race?

Take care,
Tinman
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run2thehills
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by run2thehills » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:24 pm

I have run twice in 2012 and 2014. Both years the weather was unfavorable. 2012 was the worse, with the start at 85F. That year I did not race it, I just ran by heart rate - 5 bpm below my 'normal' Marathon pace heart rate, and I had a strong run, as opposed to many who did not want to respect the weather and started to walk by..mile 10-12. 2014 was not as warm but this was misleading as it was 60+ with direct sun exposure.

In addition to the peculiarities of the course that Tinman mentioned, what made Boston difficult for me is the late start (10AM for the first wave, later for the next ones), which impacts both the nutritional aspects of the race and the sun position.

Regarding nutrion, with the late start it is very easy to get to the start low on glycogen if you haven't carb loaded enough, and haven't taken much during the morning. This will dramatically influence how strong you will finish the race. As for the sun, this is irrelevant for the years when there is cloud cover. However, if there is none, the sun can really beat you up even if the temperatures are moderate - as they were in 2014. With the dry air, I got a nasty sun burn from it without realizing it, and it also impacts your hydration needs.

I believe that these are two factors that are underappreciated in the Boston race but that anyone who runs Boston should pay particular attention to.

Racing Flat
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Racing Flat » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:06 pm

I was really looking forward to the downhill start and worried about the Newton Hills. How wrong I was :) I was hoping for 2:45 but went out very cautiously to be on the safe side. Went out in 86, but nevertheless still came home only in 93. The downhill killed me. While the first 16 miles are net downhill it felt more like repeated miles of 3/4 down, 1/4 up. By 10/11 miles I started feeling twitches/cramp in my feet and shins, something I'd never experienced before. There is a very steep downhill at 16m just before the Newton hills and here my quads started to cramp and that was race over. I've never felt pain like it, every step felt like it would be my last, the cramp was so bad. But I struggled on and was delighted to finish. It's a great race. I can't wait to go back some time.

My main advice would be to practise the downhills. I'd do tempos on short 2-3k hilly loops with significant downhill stretches. Unfortunately this is difficult for us in Canada due to the underfoot conditions - you can get away with running fastish uphill in snowy conditions, but downhills are out till about 2-3 weeks before Boston at which stage it's too late... So practise the downhills if you can!

Fusio
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Fusio » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:55 am

A start in Boston - That would be a dream come true for me. Who knows, maybe in the near future. :)

dkggpeters
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:30 pm

Boston is a great race and you cannot beat the total atmosphere that surrounds it. The course can beat you up as well as the weather. I will write more about Boston and my experiences (past and present) later this week. I was out of town all last week for travel and at Boston over the weekend and got in really late last night. I am extremely swamped at work right now but should have time tomorrow night.

Gabe1
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Gabe1 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:10 am

dkggpeters wrote:Boston is a great race and you cannot beat the total atmosphere that surrounds it. The course can beat you up as well as the weather. I will write more about Boston and my experiences (past and present) later this week. I was out of town all last week for travel and at Boston over the weekend and got in really late last night. I am extremely swamped at work right now but should have time tomorrow night.
I saw that you ran 2:46 in Boston, congratulations! Is it too much to ask for a little race report? I very much enjoyed the report you wrote last year :)

Captainblood
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Captainblood » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:34 am

I would love to hear your race report as well, DKG. I have never run a marathon and hope to one day. I feel I learn a lot from the experiences of others.

Boston has always been a special race to me. It was my Dad's favorite race and every year in the late 70s and early 80s my family would head to Beantown in April. I was there for the Bill Rodgers threepeat, the Duel in the Sun, Joan Benoit, Rosie Ruiz, and other great (or not so great) historical Boston moments.

dkggpeters
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:23 am

I will write a race report. I am just being incredibly lazy right now and recharging a bit as I had a long stretch of training with no breaks due to trying to run CIM late last year. Give me a couple of days.

I am looking forward to my Fall Cycle. Last year I went through a stretch of a couple of weeks where running was really difficult and had to take some time off. I don't want that to happen again this year.

Barney
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Barney » Sat May 02, 2015 5:36 pm

I ran my first Boston on 4/20/15. I had qualified a number of other times, but said that I wouldn't go without my wife. She qualified on her first attempt (ugh!). Going into the race, my training had gone great with only a few small hiccups. Honestly, I wasn't in sub 3 shape, but thought that I could run low 3 or 3:05. En route to Boston, as I was getting off of the airplane, my right calf cramped up and was, of course, very tender and sore for the next few days. Due to this and the weather, I chose to be conservative in the opening miles and I'm glad that I did so. Long story short, I ran Boston in a negative split, despite the wind, cold, and rain. In many marathons, I have come close to negative splits only once, but never done it. There is absolutely nothing like having your last 5k be your fastest of the day. I live in West Tennessee, which isn't hilly, but the hills never bothered me at Boston. I do second practicing the downhill portion of running. I did do this quite a bit in training. I also have my first black toenail as a souvenir of Boston (guess it was that downhill running). In summary, easy in the opening 10k and go from there. Feed off of the crowd and enjoy it! My PR from 2008 was 3:03 and I ran 3:10 (conservatively) in 2015. Smart training, I guess. Thanks for the wealth of knowledge over the years!

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