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The Newton Hills
Ah, yes, now we can talk about the infamous Newton Hills. What makes Boston unique is not that there are hills, but where they fall in the race and what comes before and after them. As I just mentioned, holding back in the first 10km will allow for fresher legs for the hilly sections between miles 19 and 26. The best way to prepare for the hills of Boston is not by simply doing hill repeats, but rather tempo runs and long runs on routes will undulating hills. The objective is to get your system used to having to change from going downhill to uphill and then back to downhill.
The great Bill Rodgers, who won Boston four times, did most of his long runs on the actual Boston course, which taught his body how to manage the various demands that come with sustained downhill running, followed by rolling hills and followed by a gradual downhill section to the finish. You might not have the same luxury, but running on simulated sections of the course in your region will go a long way on race day in Boston.
This piece first appeared in the March 2013 issue of Competitor magazine.
About The Author:
Two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper, a vice president with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, helps runners of all abilities through www.culpeppercoaching.com.