Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting to Know the Course

I'm a firm believer in previewing a race course as much as possible. Except for track races where every oval should be pretty much the same, no two course are alike. I've run in Central Park enough to tell you that even there, having the race go clockwise versus counter-clockwise, or starting at 67th on West Side instead of 72nd on the East can change your strategy.

A sign that the race is coming!
With the marathon it's no different. If anything, practicing on the actual course can be even more helpful. Before I go any further let me first quickly say that I realize this kind of practice isn't always possible. I'm lucky enough to live in NYC and have friends in Boston so I can practice on those courses but sometimes you want to run a race in an exotic place and visiting before hand is not an option, no biggie! You can still have an awesome race.

Anyway, the last few weeks I've really been getting in a lot of time on the NYC course. This weekend, for example, I did my final long run (22.7 miles) using the marathon course for miles 9 to 22. This morning, I fit miles 18 to 26.2 into my 12 mile run. The more you familiarize yourself with the course, the better prepared you'll be come race day. There won't be any surprise hills or turns because you already know them. (Not that the hills are necessarily any easier...)

Over the next 2 1/2 weeks of the taper I plan on really getting to know the final 10 miles of the course, incorporating portions of them into as many runs as possible.  Those are the toughest miles of the marathon, especially once the spectators disappear north of 96th and I want to be ready so that come race day I can slip into autopilot.

Alright, the countdown has officially begun!


1 comment:

  1. I live 1 1/2 blocks from Lafayette Ave in Brooklyn (around mile 8.5), and it's a great place to watch the marathon. The runners are still feeling good and the shade from the tree-lined street is a plus. After Lafayette, I love that dramatic left turn onto Bedford Ave. You feel like a rock star running down Bedford into Williamsburg.