Tips For Running the Boston Marathon on Monday – 2012

by Dick Beardsley

Congratulations to all of you who are running Boston! It is a race like no other in the world!   From the time you step off the plane you will feel the electricity in the air, that’s all everyone is talking about! As you know, Boston starts in the small town of Hopkinton and winds through different towns along the way into downtown Boston. The first half mile is a pretty good downhill that you will want to be careful on! Between the early downhill, all the runners, along with all the spectators it’s easy to go out too  fast and you will pay a big price for that later in the race. If you think you’re going slow enough at the start, your probably are  going too fast!

The course has some rolling hills during the first half of the race. The first BIG attraction is when you’re coming into the town of Wellsley.  It is the home of Wellsley Girls College and they will be out there in droves screaming their heads off for you. It’s unbelievable!

The course flattens out for a couple of miles after that until you come down a very long steep downhill into the town of Newton Lower Falls but remember what goes down must come up! I think one of the toughest parts of the course is the very long gradual up hill coming up out of that town. No one talks about that one much but in my opinion that is where the hills really begin! At the fire station at mile 17 you turn right onto Commonwealth Ave and this is where the infamous set of hills begins ending with Heartbreak Hill!  The toughest part of that series of hills is coming down the backside of Heartbreak, it can be brutal on your legs! 

Once you’re down that hill you will make a left hand turn and start heading for downtown. When you see the big Citgo billboard you will then know you have about a mile to go to the finish!  You will continue on Commonwealth Ave. and then make a right turn onto Hereford Street. This street is about 3-4 blocks long with a gradual rise. You get to the top of Hereford St. and make a left and then its about 500 yards straight to the finish!

Some other tips:

  • I know the expo is lots of fun but I would not spend too much time on your feet there. Get your packet, make a quick trip around the expo and then get back to your hotel and get off your feet!
  • Make sure you are well hydrated before, during, and after the race!
  • Don’t worry about the weather! So many people psych themselves right out of a good race because they are so worried about the weather! Yes check the forecast so you can be dressed properly but there is nothing you can do about the weather so PLEASE don’t worry about it!
  • Last but not least, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I wish you all the best!

Dick Beardsley

 DICK BEARDSLEY

A very short bio about Dick Beardsley.  He is a “running legend,” but perhaps the most amazing thing about him is his climb back to health after becoming addicted to pain medication for more than four years.  (read more at http://www.marathonandbeyond.com/camp/beardsleyinfo.doc). 

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Dick Beardsley

Dick is best known for his incredible race in the 1982 Boston Marathon, which this year marks the 40th anniversary of this famous Boston Race which was dubbed the “Duel in the Sun” as he battled world record holder Alberto Salazar down to the finish line. Both broke the American record: Salazar won in a record time of 2:08:51, Beardsley’s time was 2:08:53! He was at the height of his professional running career.  Take a look at the famous race       

Then tragedy struck in November 1989. While using an auger to lift corn into a bin on his Minnesota farm, Dick became entangled in the machine; it began to literally tear him apart. Not expected to live or walk-much less ever run again-he managed to survive.  

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NUTRITION – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT AS PART OF YOUR TRAINING PLAN

Knowing about nutrition and what to eat is an extremely integral part of endurance sports.  What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your mood and running performance, so it is worthwhile to take some time and thought to what you put in your body when you want to perform well.  The most well planned and executed training plans can end quickly on race day if the athlete neglects any and all aspects of nutrition. That being said one can also get lost in the amount of information that is currently present in regards to what you should eat and how much.  Athletes can by overwhelmed with the amount of  information on television, magazines, race expos, training camps and the internet of so called healthy energy foods that over the years have become a multi-million dollar industry.

The simple truth is that the  foods that work best for most ahletes are the same ones our hunter-gatherer ancestors ingested: lean meats and fish from wild sources, vegetable protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables that provide whole carbohydrates and natural unsaturated fats found in nuts, fish and vegetables. Not only are these foods not processed but they are mainly alkaline in nature thus help fight inflammation in the body.

Once you are able to improve your lifestyle diet you can start incorporating training specific or race specific nutritional products such as sports drinks, gels, bars and other powders that provide training/racing benefits. The number of products in the market in this category is too many to mention in this article but CK SPORTS supplies a majority of the industry leaders. The key is to experiment with these products during training so you know they agree with your system and when it is necessary to take them.

In general you should incorporate the following points to help improve your nutritional habits:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they will provide you with most of your daily carbohydrates and they help keep body inflammation at a minimum.

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently which aids in proper digestion, doesn’t shock your insulin levels and stops you from over-eating.

  • Avoid saturated and trans fats as they increase inflammation in the body and are one of the causes of cardiovascular disease.

  • Eat lean protein as this will help you recover from harder workouts, promote lean muscle mass which burns the most calories and balances out blood sugar levels.

  • Avoid high-glycemic foods and drinks other than when your body needs them which is immediately before, during and after workouts.

  • Stay hydrated with water your main drink of choice.

  • Monosaturated fats such as olive oil, flax seed oil, canola oil and avocados are the healthiest fats to consume.

With all the information out there, if nutrition is a main concern for you, it is important to search out a qualified sports nutritionist who can help you make informed choices and limit those choices that are hampering your performance.

Some of the information in this article was provided by Dr. Jake Oergel; an accomplished Ironman triathlete who has competed in over 75 endurance events.