How to Race Your Best in Boston: Part I

Run to the Line

The line (aka the "wall") is the part of your race day where your body begins to push back. In general, this happens between miles 18 and 22 on race day, depending on the course, your pacing, your fitness, etc.  Of course, most runners go out fast putting time into "the bank" for when they slow down. I am here to tell you there is no such bank, and that time you saved will mostly likely be nowhere near sufficient to staunch the bleeding at the end of your day.

Until you hit the "line" you aren't racing, you are running. You ignore the other runners and do your best to flatten out the course through smart pacing. Nutritionally, you are fueling in anticipation of the last 8 miles.

More: How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

Race to the Finish

The last 8 miles on race day are where dreams are made (or broken). Inside Marathon Nation, we don't dread the end of the race; it's where our day begins. If you have paced yourself properly, you'll just be starting to pick up the pace as everyone around you is slowing down. This is not only a judicious application of your fitness, it's a powerful mental strategy that helps you stay focused just as your body is trying to check out.

A Delayed Start and Nutrition

While everyone thinks about the hills of Newton, few actually consider the logistical hurdles of race day and how that will impact their ability to race well. The Boston Marathon is a point-to-point affair, requiring an early morning transfer via school bus (yes, the big yellow ones). Depending on your wave start, you could be boarding buses as early as 6 a.m. for a 10 a.m. start. That means a 4 a.m. wake-up call for a 10 a.m. start time...or six full hours between the time you wake up, eat breakfast and then start running.  

More: 5 Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid

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