Come April 20, Amy Hastings will be one of the top Americans toeing the line at the Boston Marathon. Despite her elite status, this Brooks-sponsored professional runner is refreshingly down to earth and doesn't use her status to elevate herself above the rest of us mortal runners. She will, after all, be facing the same daunting 26.2 miles and tackling Heartbreak Hill with everyone else.
If you think running is any easier for the professionals, consider this: Running is hard, takes an incredible amount of self-motivation, and hurts for everyone. But, as Hastings points out, therein lies the greatest reward in crossing the finish line.
Hastings took the time to answer some questions leading up to what will be her first Boston Marathon. All runners, regardless of their pace, can use her advice for their own running.
1) This will be your first time racing the Boston Marathon, but it looks like you've been able to do some training on the course. How do you plan to tackle the course?
I think Boston can be broken into three sections, Hopkinton to Newton, the Newton Hills and the top of Heartbreak to the finish. I think the most important thing for the first section is to not get too excited because, even though it's mainly downhill, you can pay for it later if you go out too fast. The Newton Hills are a good place to make a move if you're feeling good, but nothing crazy because you still have a lot of running left going into Boston where you can make up a ton of ground.
2) How have you approached training for Boston this year? What are some things you did to prepare you specifically for the unique challenges the Boston Marathon presents?
Boston is a very technical course with more downhill than I am typically used to. In order to prepare for this, I have done lots of downhill runs, mainly on the course. This has toughened up my quads so hopefully they won't get too beat up on race day.