Sunday, April 17, 2011

Keys to mastering Boston are mental

It's 7:00 am on the morning before the marathon. It's finally really exciting and sinking in - I'm running the freaking Boston Marathon! This time tomorrow I'll be hopping a bus to the starting line only to have to wait in anticipation for my 10:20 start time.

Yesterday it was windy and cold (high of 43!)- the weather forecast seems to change each day but it seems to have settled in on upper 50's possible lite showers later in the day. Should be perfect running weather with one variable - wind. It's supposed to be somewhat windy - if it's a tail wind great, head wind crap. All I can do is wait and see.

Today is the running expo. I really enjoy this part of the marathon experience. Everyone swapping stories, wishing each other luck and of course picking up the race package and shopping! Then there is always the eye candy....

I found the attached article that I found interesting. I find myself reading a lot about the race.

All the training and waiting is almost over and the race is finally here!

By Joe Battaglia, Universal Sports

BOSTON -- On the eve of the 115th Boston Marathon, we wondered what some of the keys are to mastering the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square.

Who better to ask than a man who did just that, 1968 Boston Marathon champion and Runners World editor at-large Amby

"The first time I ran Boston, I ran a perfect race, I made no mistakes," Burfoot said. "I was an 18-year-old college freshman scared out of my brains from everything I had read. I had never run anything longer than 19 miles in my life, so I held back and held back and held back. I literally had the experience of asking somebody, ‘Where's Heartbreak Hill?' And they said, ‘Oh, you just passed it.' I was like, ‘That thing was a hill? That was nothing.' Every year since, it has been a hill."
There are a number of places where a runner can get hung up on this course, but Burfoot singled out five as being especially difficult.

The first three he lumped together as the downhills, the critical ones being the one right at the start, the one going down lower Newton Falls before going up over Route 128, and the one coming off of Heartbreak Hill.
"What makes the downhills difficult is just the pounding nature of the Boston course," Burfoot said. "If you start going too fast, you pound the quads and then your legs are just dead the last five miles. Only Boston has that element among the elite marathon courses."
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When asked how runners should approach these sections, Burfoot said, "Very carefully."
"You need to know exactly what your pace is, know what your effort is, and realize that you need to keep your quads calm on the downhills," he added. "You don't race the downhills. You just sort of keep your legs intact on them."

Burfoot's fourth potential pitfall comes at the 13th mile when runners get to Wellesley, where the college girls turn out annually to offer their vocal support to the runners. He said pacing is important through the Scream Tunnel, where it's easy to get pumped up and surge ahead prematurely.

"It's the middle of the race," Burfoot said, "the crowd pumps you up, you're still feeling good and want to go, but it's way too soon."

According to Burfoot, the fifth mistake runners can make is not moderating effort over the final hills.

"In the old days the race used to be won and lost on the hills, and sometimes it still is," he explained. "But in a modern marathon, it seems to be about who's got something left in the last two or three miles because the finishes are all sprints now. So it's not about winning on the hills, it's about having that speed left."

Burfoot's best piece of advice is to maintain composure.
"I think people panic in various ways," he said. "Downhill into the final four miles of hills, I think it's a panic thing. It's thinking, ‘I have to go.' It's thinking, ‘I don't have to go.' People often overthink when they should just maintain the same solid effort, get through them, and live to fight another day.

"This is course demands more of a runner mentally. It's a world apart from the other races."

©2010 Universal Sports

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post. In my next life I am going to Wellesley! So wave at the girls for me! You are and interesting, intelligent, multi talented guy. Well read and well traveled. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Love M&D