Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Coach's Corner Wednesdays!... "5 things that Make Boston Unique-- and How to Overcome Them."

We're back with more Boston Marathon tips from Coach Bob. If you missed last week post (here) I started a Coach's Corner for Bob to pass on his lesson for the weeks leading up to Boston. Last weeks post was on getting a speedier Boston time with just a few weeks of training left. Last weeks post wasn't just Boston related-- feel free to use those tips coming up on any goal marathon you have. This week, however, we'll be covering what you should expect at the Boston Marathon that you won't typically see at other races. With such a big and unique event there are going to be a lot of distractions, changes in schedule, etc. Bob has provided a few lessons for us...

5 Things To Expect at Boston vs other Marathons

1.  One of the biggest differences is the drop in elevation from start to finish compared to other marathons.  Some marathons are very hilly while others can be relatively flat.  Boston has more "drop" than"up".  It starts at 435 feet above sea level, has a drop of 378 feet by the time you finish the race.  This rolling type of course can have fun with your quads!  The biggest thing is maintaining good form during the whole race, even up Heartbreak hill.

2.  Huge number of runners at the start of Boston.  Boston, as most people know, start in corrals.  The good thing is that most of the time you will be into your pace by mile 3.  It just takes PATIENCE the first few miles.  Just flow with the other runners and let the race develop.  Rumor has it the race now starts in three waves, so the flow should better since a less number of runners will be starting at the same time.

3.  Busing to the start of Boston............well, it's a trip!  Literally, on school buses.  Hoping that most of you have practiced eating your pre-race meal during training, you will still need to eat.  Usually the time frame is catching the bus by 6:00 am with the race starting around 10:00 am.  Also, take an extra, extra set of throw away clothes and wear these to the the start.  You will be able to leave a set of clothes at the waiting area so you will have these when you finish the race.

4.  The biggest thing I can mention is the enjoyment factor of Boston.  RELAX and have fun with this race.  You have qualified!  You have done something that still, a majority of people cannot say they have done.

Wellesley Girls Cheering
5.  As you start the race, realize that the crowds will be there the whole way (my favorite are the girls at Wellesley College for some reason!).  And I mean the whole way.  You will feel the crowd's energy no matter what the weather does.  So have fun with the crowd and enjoy the extra motivation.  BUT, do not let the energy to get out fast in the beginning of the race.  Hold back and be patient.

Boston is just fun!  The whole experience is one you will not forget for several years!  The other runners there also share in your same enjoyment.

Happy running! 
Coach Bob


  1. Steph, you are going to have SO much fun at Boston! It's my second favorite big marathon (only after NYC) and it feels so neat to run such an important major.

  2. I'm not sure that you'll appreciate the girls of Wellesley College as much as us guys do. But they will be cheering like crazy for you. However, while Wellesley has the reputation for the crowds, the fans are much better at Boston College and Boston University! Plus, both those schools are at a point in the race where you NEED support.

    And, if you want the crowds to really go crazy. Wear a Red Sox shirt!

    Just be careful that you don't go crazy at the start. You'll have a GRRRRREAT time!

  3. I did my first Boston last year and this post made me smile thinking back on all of the amazing parts of the race. I can't wait for it to be Boston time again this year! You will have SUCH a blast.

  4. I'm so friggin excited for you!!!

  5. I'm also running Boston this year for the first time and am crazy excited. I have heard very similar helpful hints from all my Boston running buddies so reading your post reinforced some already good tips. Good luck on this adventure and enjoy every step! See you in Hopkinton!

  6. The best advice I can give is to keep your emotions in check. It is soooo exciting to be in Boston and be part of this special event. The crowds are big and loud. The course can be very fast. But, you HAVE to hold back and enjoy the experience. It will be so worth it. I'll join you next year. :)