Today was the last run for the Nike Marathon training group. Terence and I have been tormenting the runners for the last four month and I think the best part of running the marathon for them will be that they don't have to listen to me any more.
At today's run from Niketown we went for an easy 2-mile shakeout run to stay loose. Before we went out for our run, Shalane Flanagan (4x American record holder, Olympic bronze medalist) and Sammy Wanjiru (Olympic gold medalist, Olympic, London & Chicago Marathon record holder) had an informal Q&A with the group. It's always great to get some tips and encouragement from world class athletes. It sounds like they're both going to be out scouting the course tomorrow, with the thought of racing next year.
The City Coach cheering section will be at 135th Street & 5th Avenue tomorrow to support all our Nike, Jack Rabbit and Terence, Bobby, Leanne, City Coach athletes who we've worked with over the last four months, as well as all our other friends who will be out there. If you're not running, come on up and join us. 135th is a great spot because it's not too crowded and by then the runners often need a little support.
Start conservatively and don't get frustrated by the early congestion. Don't waste a single step traversing the road to get past slower runners.
If you're going to have a friend pace you along the course, be
very specific about where they're to meet you. And don't try to have
the rendezvous on a crowded section of 1st Avenue or elsewhere where it
may be impossible for them to find you.
Cut the tangents. Just as you don't want to bob and weave, you
don't want to take one step more than you need to when turning a
corner. The course is measured along the tangents, so anything else is
Don't weigh yourself down with a fuel belt or Camelback. And in the name of all that's good and holy, don't carry a bottle in your hand. They
might make sense in training, but not on race day when you have water
and Gatorade Endurance every mile.
Use the crowds and their energy to your advantage. Steal their
energy - don't waste yours running across the road to say hi to them.
Those extra steps may seem trivial, but you'll want them back later in
the race. The exception is when passing the official
City Coach cheering zone at 135th and 5th. There, you may give a hint of a wave and
perhaps a nod of acknowledgment.
Stick with your hydration and caloric intake plan even if you don't feel hungry or thirsty. If you wait until your body's asking for it, it'll be too late. You'll need
the fluids and calories if you're going to avoid hitting the wall.
Nothing new on race day. No new clothes, no new shoes, no new food or drink. Go with what you know.
Great work by Dan Hopard at the Niagara Falls International Marathon. Dan finished in 33rd out of 700+ racers, in a time of 3:09:40. Not too shabby for a guy who struggled for years to break 4:00:00. Not only did he PR, but he did it with a negative split once again. Congratulations Dan.
Today let's take a look at the details of the NYC Marathon course.
The start is the hardest part of the NYC course as you climb the Verrazano. If you're lucky enough to start near the front, be careful not to go out too fast. In fact, if you race well it should be your slowest mile of the day because of the elevation gain. If you're starting toward the back, you may be tempted to weave around folks to make good time up the hill. Resist this temptation at all costs. Make sure that you run 1.0 miles in the first mile. Wasting energy trying to get around other runners will certainly bite you in the butt later. It may be frustrating to shuffle for the first mile, but the good news is you'll still have 25+ miles to make up any lost time. After you reach the top of the bridge, you'll have a fast, downhill mile. Once again, don't waste energy by attacking the hill to aggressively. Lean into the hill gently and relax.
Once you exit the Verrazano, you're in Brooklyn. This will be your first exposure to the cheering crowds, and the terrain on 4th Avenue is flat and fast. Settle in and find a steady pace - preferably right around your overall goal marathon pace. Just as you need to resist the urge to go too hard in Staten Island, don't let the excitement of the crowd push you too hard just yet. Harness the energy. Don't bother giving a high-five or hugging your adoring fans. When you pass the Williamsburg Savings Bank building (they're condos now FYI) you'll still have great crowds and fast terrain. Mile 10 is on Bedford Ave. The terrain continues to be flat and fast. At this stage you should feel great, and hopefully will have maintained a solid pace in Brooklyn. Once again, you need to be disciplined. Too many marathoners decide that they feel good after 10 miles and think they can adjust their goal. Now's not the time to think on your feet. Stick with your game plan. Assuming that you're feeling comfortable, that plan should be to pick up the pace slightly for the next several miles. An adjustment of 5-10 seconds per mile is enough.
You'll reach the halfway point on the Pulaski Bridge as you enter Queens. The bridge is a little challenging. Don't push it too hard on the ascent. The next few miles include some rolling hills and turns. Be sure to cut the tangents so you don't have to cover any extra ground. (NYRR has made a few changes in the course this year which eliminates some of the tightest turns, so it should be a touch faster than in the past.)
Your next bridge is the Queensboro Bridge. While this is a challenging one, the "wall of sound" awaits you on the Manhattan side. When you head up 1st Avenue, you'll have a slight uphill for most of the first 1.25 miles, then downhill to 96th and back up most of the way to the Willis Avenue Bridge. As you head north of 96th Street the crowds thin and you'll probably start to feel the miles. Keep your concentration and discipline, as the next few miles are mentally challenging.
You'll hit 20 miles as you enter the Bronx. While I've stressed the need to stay disciplined and not go "off script" by speeding up and trying to "bank time" earlier in the race, now's the time to listen to your body. If you've raced conservatively, you may find yourself able to pick it up a little.
The course in the Bronx has been extended slightly this year, as you'll head across 138th, north onto Rider Avenue, west on 140th and south on Rider Avenue before picking up 138th again. You'll soon cross the Madison Avenue Bridge and re-enter Manhattan. Look for the official City Coach cheering section on the right side at 135th St as you head down 5th Avenue. The farther south you go, the deeper and louder the crowds will get. You'll need them as you head downtown on 5th Avenue, as there's a gentle but seemingly endless incline south of 110th Street. You'll enter Central Park at Engineer's Gate and it's mostly downhill from there. Exit at the bottom of the park, run along Central Park South, then re-enter the park at Columbus Circle. From there, no matter how tired you are, you can gut it out to the finish at Tavern on the Green that you all know so well.
With the NYC Marathon just around the corner, let's go over a few glycogen loading basics.
Keep in mind that your body can only store about 2,000 calories worth of glycogen. Fully loading your glycogen tank - coupled with prudent race day nutrition - will help ensure that you avoid "hitting the wall". Despite what the old school used to say, there's little or (probably) no reason to deplete your glycogen stores before loading. Because you're tapering and significantly decreasing your caloric expenditure, in most cases all you need to do is eat normal sized portions of complex carbohydrates in order to fill that tank. Nancy Clark - perhaps the best known and most respected sports nutritionist puts it best, "loading up on
an unusually high amount of fruits and juices might cause diarrhea. Too
many white flour, low fiber bagels, breads and pasta might clog your
system. As Marathon King Bill Rodgers once said 'More marathons are won
or lost in the porta-toilets than they are at the marathon...' Fuel
wisely, not like a chow hound.
Just as there's no need to stuff your face all week, if you plan the 3-4 days before the marathon correctly, there's no benefit to a large pre-race dinner. In fact it can work against you by causing gastrointestinal distress. Have a large, healthy, high carb lunch and then a lighter dinner. Keep in mind that even if you overeat, you can't make your 2,000 calorie tank can't hold 2,500 calories, but it can land you in the porta-potty along the course. While you're loading, be sure to stay well hydrated with water and
other fluids. Watch out for alcohol and too much caffeine, as they are
This isn't an English class, but let's look at the word carbohydrate
and make note of the word "hydrate" in there. Glycogen holds 3x its
weight in water. That means that if you fill your tank properly,
you'll probably gain a few pounds throughout your loading phase.
That's fine. It's normal. It's healthy. Relax.
On race morning you need to eat a light breakfast in order to replenish the few hundred calories that you expended while sleeping (or flailing around in the bed trying to sleep) and to stabilize your blood sugar. Since you'll have plenty of time between breakfast and the race start, you don't have to be too conservative, but be careful if you tend to have a "nervous stomach". Our friends at Nutrition Energy suggest Cereal, Pancakes and syrup, Applesauce, Bagels
with Peanut Butter, Noodles, Fig bars, Oatmeal, English Muffins, Ensure, Boost,
Energy bars, Bananas, Sports Drinks
On race day, you'll probably burn about 500-600 calories more than you can store. That means that you need to get some calories in during the marathon, or risk someone dropping a piano on your back some time around mile 20. Gels and sports drinks are usually your best bets.
I love NY, but not when it's cold. We've teamed up with JackRabbit for a great pre-season training camp in March 2010. A week of solid training featuring beautiful roads, amazing trails and outdoor pools. It'll be a great combination of training and vacation. Here's the scoop.
Coach: Head Coaches Jonathan Cane and John Stewart
Fee: $100 Deposit holds your spot, full camp price $1095.00
Date: March 21 - March 28
Time: Check-In Sunday, March 21st at 5:00pm
It's been several months since it was too cold,
wet, and ugly to train outdoors but we haven't forgotten how unpleasant
a New York winter can be. To remedy that we're heading out to Palm
Springs for a week of intense swimming, cycling, and running . . . and
some intense fun too!
The Palm Springs area is the perfect location to get away to prepare
yourself for the 2010 season. With a beautiful and varied terrain that
will challenge us physically and stimulate us mentally. Whether you're
looking to do your first Half-Ironman next season or set an Olympic
distance PR, our camp will provide you with all of the training,
experience and education so that enter the 2010 season already ahead of
The camp will kick-off Sunday afternoon, May 21st and wrap up the
following Sunday, March 28th. Included in the camp is hotel
accommodations, daily breakfast, hotel transfers to and from the Palm
Springs airport. Also included are all swim facility, video facility,
and training location fees. Airfare is not included in the price of
the camp. For your convenience you may drop off your bike at
JackRabbit Sports and we will pack-up your bike and have it delivered
to our camp hotel for $200.
Head swim coach for the camp is USAT Level II certified John
Stewart. John is an experienced coach and multiple Ironman triathlete
and has been leading the JackRabbit swim programs since 2004. As part
of our tri-specific swim training, John will provide under-water video
analysis througout the week. We will also apply this same technology
as we tape and analyze your running gate so that you are no longer just
swimming and running hard, but with as much fluidity and efficiency as
Head running and cycling coach is Jonathan Cane. Jonathan Cane, a
competitive runner, cyclist, and triathlete, earned a masters degree in
exercise physiology and has been certified by USA Cycling, the American
College of Sports Medicine and The National Strength and Conditioning
Association. He has coached Jack Rabbit's running and triathlon
programs since our opening in 2004. In addition, he is a coach for
Nike, and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Weight Training",
and contributing writer for MetroSports and NY Runner magazines.
Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot soon. $100
deposit secures your spot in the 2010 Palm Spring Training Camp and is
completely refundable up to January 1, 2010.
Clearly the deaths at the Detroit Marathon/Half Marathon are tragic, and the apparent coincidence of three runners dying so close together is noteworthy and newsworthy. Still the following abstract that I grabbed from PubMed looks at it from a different, and interesting angle. They note that more people would die driving on the closed roads than die running during marathons. And for those of you who were scared by this weekend's events and are considering a life of gluttony and sitting on the couch, keep in mind that while your risk of death from a cardiac incident is greater while running than while stationary, the overall incidence of death from cardiac incidents is far less for runners than for non-runners.
Competing risks of mortality with marathons: retrospective analysis.
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Ontario, Canada M4N 3M5. email@example.com
To determine from a societal perspective the risk of sudden cardiac
death associated with running in an organised marathon compared with
the risk of dying from a motor vehicle crash that might otherwise have
taken place if the roads had not been closed. DESIGN: Population based
retrospective analysis with linked ecological comparisons of sudden
death. SETTING: Marathons with at least 1000 participants that had two
decades of history and were on public roads in the United States,
1975-2004. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Sudden death attributed to cardiac
causes or to motor vehicle trauma. RESULTS: The marathons provided
results for 3,292,268 runners on 750 separate days encompassing about
14 million hours of exercise. There were 26 sudden cardiac deaths
observed, equivalent to a rate of 0.8 per 100,000 participants (95%
confidence interval 0.5 to 1.1). Because of road closure, an estimated
46 motor vehicle fatalities were prevented, equivalent to a relative
risk reduction of 35% (95% confidence interval 17% to 49%). The net
reduction in sudden death during marathons amounted to a ratio of about
1.8 crash deaths saved for each case of sudden cardiac death observed
(95% confidence interval: 0.7 to 3.8). The net reduction in total
deaths could not be explained by re-routing traffic to other regions or
days and was consistent across different parts of the country, decades
of the century, seasons of the year, days of the week, degree of
competition, and course difficulty. CONCLUSION: Organised marathons are
not associated with an increase in sudden deaths from a societal
perspective, contrary to anecdotal impressions fostered by news media.