5 Ways to Cut 5 Minutes off Your Marathon

Even the best runner in the world can loose time by making simple mistakes. You don’t have to!

Updated November 20th, 2022

Are there really 5 ways to cut 5 minutes off your marathon?

There are many ways to cut 5 minutes off your marathon time.

All runners focus on training to get faster and stronger.

But genetics and age put a limit on our peak performance. And most of us don’t have the time to reach our peak fitness level.

Even if you are at peak fitness and an old pro at this, these tips can still help you.

The easiest way to improve your finish time is to avoid adding time by making these mistakes.

Use the Porta Potty

Something about race morning seems to get the innards all worked up and ready to explode.

Most races have plenty of porta potties but you need to use them.

No matter how many porta potties a race has, the hour before a race the porta potties will be more crowded than the registration tent!

During a race, stopping to use the facilities can easily add a minute to your time. If you can’t wait and there is a line, you could loose much more time than that.

Shalane Flanagan may have the course record for using a porta potty during the 2018 Boston Marathon, at 14 seconds. But watch this video and see how that stop effected her run.

Des Linden won that year.

Des Linden 2018 Boston Marathon Winner
BAA Photo

During every Boston Marathon that I’ve run, I’ve seen lines at most of the on-course porta potties also.

Usually the first water/porta potty stop is at mile two or even mile five. For Boston it’s at mile two, and I’ve seen men and women “in the woods” side by side well before that first stop.

If you can avoid the first water stop you may find a porta potty without a line. But when you really gotta go, you may have to wait in line.

Tip #1 – use the facilities before you cross the start line.

Stop eating and drinking 1 hour before you start

Most people have nerves before a race and will eat or drink as a way to deal with their anxiety. Many of us do this unconsciously.

If you use the porta potty and then keep drinking, your system will not have time to process that fluid, or food, before the race starts.

Then you will have to make that porta potty stop.

Sometimes eating too much before a race can upset your stomach. Often there are samples of power bars and sport drinks available before a race.

Boston Marathon 2019, Hopkinton, MA
BAA Photo

While these items may be tempting, you should avoid eating anything new or over eating on race morning.

Even if you give your system an hour to digest everything, something new could upset your stomach. This could force you to make a pit stop or even drop out of the race.

Tip #2 – stop eating and drinking 1 hour before your race starts.

Double tie your shoes

double tied laces, 5 ways to cut 5 minutes off your marathon, Newtons

I see people running with loose laces all the time.

If you double tie your laces you can avoid this problem.

Un-tied laces may cause you to trip and fall and at some point you will have to stop and tie them.

Just like a porta potty stop, you have to fight the crowd and move to the side of the road and get out of the way. Then you need to bend over and tie your laces and possibly undue some nasty knot that tied it self as you ran.

Double tieing your laces can cut 5 minutes off your marathon time by avoiding the stop.

If you have to stop later in the race, your muscles may tighten up when you stop and bend to tie your laces.

All of this can be avoided by double tieing your laces, even if the second knot is fairly lose.

Tip #3 – Tie your shoes properly!

Carry a Water Bottle

Some people always carry a water bottle and some people never carry a water bottle.

For a Marathon or a Half, you will want to take a water bottle of some kind.

Even if you just use a Poland Spring 500ml bottle, you will save yourself a ton of time.

Here’s why.

Everyone who has planned poorly will be at the first few water stops and probably in line for the porta potty!

5 ways to cut 5 minutes off your marathon finish time, run with sports drinkAt most big marathons, including Boston, those water stops will be a crowded mess.

To get to one of these water stops you will have to make your way through a crowd of runners to the side of the road.

Then try to grab a cup, drink it and get back up to speed all without tripping over someone else.

Even if you don’t fall over someone or drown yourself with a cup of water, you will have to slow down and break your stride.

If you can skip the first five or more water stops, the rest of them are usually pretty easy to get to.

I like to run through the stop, grab a cup, pinch it and chug the cup in one or two gulps.

Tip #4 – carry a water bottle and avoid the crowds!

Bring some Food

I know that some people like to run as light as possible while some people look like they are packed for expedition.

I would suggest something in the middle.

Hopefully by now you know what your stomach will tolerate. There are many brands of gel to choose from and you should have tested a few while you were training.

fig newtons, glycemic index, glucose, marathon foodI’ve run a few races with Snickers bars or fig bars. Both are loaded with sugar and I’ve been eating them as long as I can remember.

I know these foods wont upset my stomach.

Even the elite runners take on fuel while they run. It may be sports drink in their water bottle, a gel or both.

They know what they need and during your training you should have figured out what you need and what you body will tolerate.

If your stomach can only tolerate certain sports drinks you really need to bring your own. Even the elites cannot finish a marathon without some hydration. And you know the mix in their bottle is what they have trained on.

It is similar with food or gels. Some people hate gels so they need something like fig bars.

Some races hand out gels late in the race. But you should not wait to fuel during a marathon. Over the years, I’ve learned to start fueling at 5K.

Your timing may be different, but you will need to replenish your energy stores during a marathon or half.

Tip #5 – bring food that you have run with before

It’s all about control

There are things you can control and things you cannot.

You can’t control the weather and often you can’t control your sleep or how your body will react to the last proper meal you eat before the big race.

My post, My 2018 Boston Marathon Experience, is an example of how I prepared to run in horrible conditions. If you’ve never run Boston before, this blog post will also give you a few insights about the course.

Boston Marathon 2018, 5 ways to cut 5 minutes off your marathon
BAA Photo

All of the tips I have provided here are things that you can control. Any one of them could save you five minutes. Together they could save you much more time than that.

You’ve put in the miles and the time to get here. You are as ready as you can be.

I hope that these tips that I have learned from running 18 marathons and 9 Boston Marathons will help you have the best marathon of your life.

Looking for a fall marathon? Check out New England Marathons Fall 2023 for some ideas.

Run well my Friends!


Big Long Run

This Saturday was the longest of the long runs before Boston. We had a convoy of cars take us out to Hopkinton for the 21.5 mile run to Boston College.

Big Long Run

We have spent the past twelve weeks building up to this run. Prior to this run, our longest had been 20 miles. 21.5 isn’t a big leap in miles, but we did add in the Hills of Newton including the most famous hill in running, “Heart Break Hill.”

boston marathon, big long runThis was an inter-club run with several Mystic Runners joining us and a few runners whose affiliation I did not know. I also met John Worrall one of my team mates from FamilyAid Boston.

There were thousands of runners on the course and in many towns there were police directing traffic for us. In Newton the actually had the right-hand lane coned off for several miles. I must have said thank you 100 times to all of the police and people who came out to support us.

The Big Long Run is the dress rehearsal for the big show on April 18th. This is where we try out anything new. After this point you probably shouldn’t buy new shoes or a new shirt. Don’t even change the expression on your face! If it worked on Saturday, chances are it will work for you on Marathon Monday.

On Friday I happened to be in Trader Joe’s and found this delectable delight.

danish, pastry We had one of these at my office before last Christmas. Let’s just say that it didn’t last long! This is the best Danish I have ever had. I’m not a big fan of the Danish you often see on a breakfast buffet at a hotel.

This Danish has a soft buttery crust, and just enough crust to hold the frosting, fruit filling and a small amount of pecans. It is to die for!

It was so good that I took this photo when we had the Danish in the office.

I thought I had to order these from Wisconsin. When I saw it at Trader Joe’s I just had to have it. It is loaded with carbs after all.

I had several slices while I got ready for the run. It goes great with coffee! Unfortunately it does not go good with running! While there are plenty of carbs in this delight, there is also a lot of butter. Butter and margarine are both listed along with several forms of sugar.

Butter is not a runners friend. I had to make three pit stops including a Starbucks in Newton. A nice lady in line directed me to the restroom as soon as I stepped inside the door! On Race Day this would be a disaster.

On race day I’ll be sticking to plain bagels without butter. Lesson learned! This pastry is strictly for home use.

Aches and pains and discomfort, oh my!

If you have been following along on my brief journey to Boylston Street, you know that I have been dealing with several physical issues. Injuries are not something you can control, but they are something that you can manage and attempt to heal.

My $500 seat at work almost broke my back. A $2 lumbar support that my colleague Jeff Thomas picked up for me at Micro Center in Cambridge has been a life saver.

I’ve run through many of the aches and pains that runners get. Back pain is different. I don’t exactly know why but it’s not a pain I can push away. Maybe it is fear. I can get a new knee or hip, I sure as hell don’t want spinal surgery.

I’ve had this back support for about three weeks and experienced immediate relief. Within a week my back was 20% better. In two weeks it was 40% better. This Saturday my back didn’t bother me at all until around mile 15!

When it twinged I though, “oh, here we go.” But it just twinged once in a while. No lightning bolts. No thoughts of paraplegia.

As much as my running crew has helped me out with advice and running slow with me, I have to give credit to Jeff for saving my marathon. I don’t think I could fight through the last five or ten miles of the marathon with that pain.

Much gratitude my friend!

My knee spoke up at mile 9.51. Again, I was afraid it would be all down hill from there. Hah! I’ve been icing my knee for the past month like a case of beer. Almost every night I lay on the couch to watch TV with an ice pack under my knee and sometimes one of top.

I’ve been taking fish oil for about two months and started taking turmeric recently. The great thing about these items is that they are all natural. I eat this stuff all the time.

My knee didn’t start to impact my running until around mile 15. By then that pain had to compete for mind share with my flaming quads. Climbing hills is a be-yotch!

The knee pain has been with me for over a year. When I was only running 5Ks and long runs were no more than 7 miles, my knee didn’t bother me. When FamilyAid Boston gave me the opportunity to run Boston, things got real serious real quick. No more half long-runs. It was all in for Boston.

While up-hills will tear your quads, down hills will beat up your knees and hips and every joint connected to the bottoms of your feet. You know the tune!

My right knee never bothers me but those blessed down hills get my left knee every time.

Heading out of Hopkinton I kept the mantra going that Terrance Mahon taught me several years ago – pretend you are running on egg shells coming out of Hopkinton. The idea is to not land like a ton of bricks on your feet. You have to be mindful and think about what you are doing.

Automatic for the Runners

Easter Bunny, big long runSo much of running can become automatic. The focus is on moving forward and getting up the next hill. Late in a race, form goes out the window for many of us. We just want to survive.

Being aware of your running form is important and can make a big difference. Keeping Terrance’s mantra in mind helped me get as far as I did before pains interrupted my perfectly pleasant run.

If you do something often enough it becomes automatic. Over the past year or so with this bum knee, I’ve been more conscious of my foot falls and envisioning egg shells.

Running the day before Easter, this was much easier to do!

When the knee acted up I had a few moments of worry. Would it get worse? I was running at least 5 miles further than my longest run in over a year.

While I paid attention to it and assessed it with each step, eventually I was able to push it out of my consciousness. It just stopped hurting after a while. Will power.

My third problem area has been my right shoulder. Soon after injuring it I ran the Super Sunday 5 Miler and thought I would not be able to finish that race.

I tried light exercise of my shoulders and that turned out to be a bad idea. For the past six weeks or so I haven’t done anything with my shoulders. Not even planks.

Sometimes my right hand tingles and gets numb in spots, but it is getting better. Now I am able to run with zero pain and only occasional tingling.

On the big long run, my shoulder wasn’t a problem.

The Long and Winding Road

big long run, boston marathonFor some reason, when we got to the right-hand turn in Newton to head up the hills I was surprised. I’ve run this course eight or nine times. That turn still gets me every time.

A few minutes after we arrived at Boston College a runner came up to us and asked us which way to Boston? He was serious but we all kind of laughed. He laughed too. We told him to turn left at Cleveland Circle and keep following the runners.

If he didn’t know that the road continued to Boston, he probably didn’t know where the hell Cleveland Circle was either. Still, there were plenty of runners heading to Boylston Street.

It felt so good to be finished. The official distance was 21.5 miles. My Garmin has 20.95 at a moving pace of 9:05. At that pace I could still do a 4 hour marathon.

I have three weeks to taper and be cranky! I’m hoping that my knee will get better during this time and that my back will continue to improve.

One of my goals was to get down to 180 lbs before the marathon. I knew I didn’t have time to train properly, but I knew that loosing a few pounds would help. Even after refueling after the run, I was 180 lbs exactly. Hopefully Easter wont pack all those pounds back on again!

If you have donated to FamilyAid Boston, I thank you. If you would like to contribute to FamilyAid Boston, please see my fundraising page. We are making progress towards our goal and you can help us get there.

Run well my Friends!


Photos courtesy of Paul Locke, Mary Comerford O’Connell. Link to Paul Locke’s Flickr account for more photos.

February Wrap Up

In my last post I went over my mileage and training for February. For tracking purposes February ended on Saturday for me. But on the calendar February is still rolling along.

Last week I ran a grueling 14.6 mile long run. It was just awful in so many ways. Looking ahead to this week’s 18.1 mile run left me apprehensive. I knew I made some mistakes but some of my issues were physical and not easily addressed.

February Wrap up Run

One of my big problems last week was improper fueling and hydration. To address those issues I ate a high carb dinner Saturday night and had two beers in the afternoon.

Sunday morning I had a large bowl of Grape-Nuts and even put some sugar on top. A half-cup serving has 47g of carbs. I had well over a cup and added sugar on top of that. So my carbohydrate stores were pretty well stocked.

I made an extra pot of coffee on Saturday afternoon and put a quart into a sport cup and put that in the fridge. Sunday morning I added some milk, but no sugar. I really need caffeine to get me going in the morning and 32oz of high octane juice really hit the spot.

Stretch This

Last week I did a nice stretch and yoga session Saturday night. I’m pretty careful, but I did manage to over do it a little bit. With the issues I already have, a little over stretching didn’t do me any good. This week I sat on my glutes and watched some TV. The result was positive.

stretching, yoga

I also did no stretching before my run. Instead, I took the first mile to warm up and loosen up. This worked out well for me also.

After the run I did some stretching. I was really surprised how easy the IT band stretches were. I didn’t think I would be able to bend over like that and my back didn’t hurt at all.

When I got home I rolled my glutes and hamstrings. When I rolled my calves the pain was amazing. I could only bear about one minute of that business.

My left knee is still a mess. I tried some stretching but it was painful. I decided not to push it as I really was concerned I’d break something. Knowing when to say when is very important.

Stretching before a run has seen some controversy. I tend to agree with the no stretching before a run camp. I do a few moves to loosen up my ankles, knees and hips that Terrance Mahon showed me at a BAA clinic a few years ago. Sometimes even stretching the day before can effect your run.

The moves that Terrance showed us are enough to get the “kinks” out. You know, those snapping sounds your joins make sometimes?

Final February Run

This week the course was 18.1 miles. I really had no idea how this was going to go. I took a few precautions and planned well, but 18.1 is a lot more than 14.6.

I was a little stiff for the first mile or so, but I had planned on this. By the time we hit the hills in Breakheart Reservation in Saugus, I was attacking the hills. I felt pretty good. The hills began just after we hit 5 miles. My legs were warmed up, but not fatigued.

I was worried that poring it all on for those hills would make the hills on Main Street difficult. We hit the Breakheart water stop a second time on the way out and I grabbed a GU. As we ran down the driveway to The Fellsway I could feel the carbs hitting my system.

My shoulder didn’t give me much trouble at all. A few twinges late in the run, but nothing like last week. Around mile 10 my left knee spoke up and about the same time my back chimed in. Physically I was not exhausted at this point, but those aches had me concerned.

Getting the legs to move that first 100 yards or so after the last three water stops was increasingly difficult. At the last stop knowing that our last hill was just around the corner didn’t make getting started any easier.

After the last water stop and hill it was pretty flat for the last three miles. My knee and back were just killing me at this point.

15 miles was further than I ran last week, and no walking this week. Somewhere along Main Street in Wakefield I managed to will my knee pain out of my mind. All of a sudden it just didn’t hurt so much.

Don Keren, Malden Irish American 5KI ran the entire 18 miles with Don Keren. Early in the run he pushed the pace but eventually he settled into a pace that I could run. We ran a pace of 9:16. Last week we ran a 9:56 pace for 14.6 miles. I was a wreck last week but my friend stuck with me even though I slowed him considerably.

Preparation for next week

Next week we run the 20 mile Mystic Lakes Route. After this week’s run I’m more confident about this run. My fueling and hydrating worked out well this week and I’ll continue that.

Consistent training is important. Last week I had two 5 mile treadmill runs. Nothing grueling, but enough to help me build up for this week’s 18 miler. I’ll do two 5-6 mile treadmill runs this week also. Again, nothing grueling, but good consistent miles that will allow my body to recover and be prepared for the 20 miler.

By running inside last week I was also able to recover substantially from my chest cold. Congestion is not good for running! I’ll probably skip the Tuesday night club run and just do the two treadmill runs again this week. It worked well last week, and perhaps I can kick this thing.

  • How is your training going?
  • Any tricks for running an abbreviated marathon plan?
  • Are you running Boston this year?

Run well my Friends!


© 2016 andrew nagelin

Marathon Training Begins

Probably the worse run of my life was the 2003 Boston Marathon. I had never run a marathon and was woefully under trained. I had jumped at an opportunity without much thought and had no concept of what I was about to do.

The two things I had going for me were youth (38 years-old) and lack of in juries. I guess I could count a priori enthusiasm as a plus also. How many things would you have never done if you knew what you were really getting yourself into?

Marathon Training Begins

Boston Marathon, running, BAA 10KJump ahead 13 years and I should know what I’m doing. I’ve run Boston six times and 15 marathons all together. I’ve solved many running issues and my finish times have come down a lot since that first Boston Marathon.

This Sunday I officially began my Boston Marathon training. It was the Melrose Running Club’s Sunday Long Run; a comfortable 14.3 mile tour of Melrose, Stoneham, Medford and Malden.

I made so many mistakes and had so many issues it was one of the worse long runs I’ve ever had.

Things I can fix

When I found out I had a number for the marathon I did a weigh in just to see where I was at. Well, I was at 188.6 lbs! I haven’t seen that number for years and it was shocking. Since I have a limited time to train I decided dropping down to 180 would be a good idea.

I’ve been really good at work eating fruit for breakfast and skipping bagels and other carbs often found around an office. By the end of the week I’d knocked off about 2 lbs.

Saturday night for dinner I had some chicken, a 1/2 cup of rice and 2+ cups of veggies. Veggies have carbs and I had some rice so I thought I was good.

Unfortunately I was wrong. I ran out of juice pretty quick on the long run. Through mile six I managed to stay under 9 minute miles. Mile seven came in at 9:40 and things slowly went down-hill from there.

Lesson – Eat lots of carbs the night before a long run. I ran off 2,019 calories. I think I can afford a cup or two of rice.

This is a totally solvable problem. I know better.

Mechanical Issues

Most of my issues are mechanical. My left knee has been acting up sporadically for the past year. While running short track it didn’t really bother me. Foolishly I have not had my PT look at this. I’m pretty sure it’s an over use issue. Sometimes I can feel a tendon slip over a muscle when I bend my leg. At least it’s not runner’s knee or torn cartilage.

Downhill pounding really aggravates the hell out of it. Uphill is still my strong suit.

My back has been another sporadic issue. I think all of us get sore backs eventually. Things wear out and we do stupid things when we are young and invincible. I’ve carried double-hung wood frame windows up a ladder and I’ve hung sheet rock on the ceiling, by my self.

An adjustment to my work chair about two months ago aggravated my back and the pain lingers. I got rid of the adjustment and tried some yoga, but I’m not sure if yoga helped.

I’ve often said that my back will take me out of running before anything else. Well, this unfortunate experiment may have accelerated that retirement.

Then there is my shoulder. As a modest goal I decided to do 15 daily push-ups. I’ve been doing shoulder and chest work for the past year. It seemed like a reasonable addition that I could do anywhere.

I go through cycles with my shoulders. I’ll start bench pressing, make some progress and eventually get hurt. My threshold seems to be 45 lb dumbbells, so that’s where I topped out this time.

This had been working well until one evening I tweaked my right shoulder doing push-ups. That was about five weeks ago.

I ran the Super Sunday 5 Miler a few days after my injury and had shooting pain right away. It was so bad I considered dropping out of the race. Being a problem solver I gripped my right hand to my left shoulder to stretch the right shoulder and relieve some of the bouncing.

This worked well enough that I was able to run 7:55 miles.

These are issues that I cannot easily solve. Time and rest usually work for me. But I have eight weeks until the big race.

What I did right

I started breaking a new pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost shoes. Two months out is the time to do this. I wore the socks I am likely to wear on Marathon Monday also. My toes had plenty of room and my heels did not slip. I did feel some heat in my arches, so that could be an issue.

Running shoes can cause all kinds of problems, so getting them right is crucial. If things don’t settle down in the next few weeks, I’ll get a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes. I’m also hoping new shoes will help with my knee and back.

I dressed correctly. Last week it was -32° F at times. This week it was about 42° F when the wind was blowing. Marathon Monday will probably start in the 40s and may get warmer or colder. It’s gone both ways. I ran in 2012 when it was almost 90° F.

Today I was only cold when the wind blew and I never felt over-heated. Core body temperature control is key to successful running. You don’t want to accelerate the loss of electrolytes.

I discovered that my new Under Armour shirt is too tight. Their web site sized me into a medium. As an under layer it works fine. Nice and tight and no chaffing. Sunday I wore it with a tech t-shirt like I probably will during the marathon.

My old Under Armour shirt is a large. It’s still tight, but I can push up the sleeves. My new shirt is basically body paint and isn’t going anywhere.

During a marathon the temperature can swing wildly. A cold morning can turn into many sun drenched miles. The ability to roll up my sleeves and prevent over-heating is very important. So I’ll be wearing my old Under Armour shirt on Marathon Monday.

Hydration and fuel

PowerGel Quartet,gu,gel

While I screwed up my dinner, I did the right thing on the run. I got plenty of fluids at our water stops and took two gels. During a half marathon I typically take two gels. One of the gels may have been old and didn’t settle well with my stomach.

I actually had cramps, and I can eat anything. For Boston, they hand out gels after the Rt. 95 overpass. These will be fresh and common, popular flavors like vanilla or chocolate. I’ll also bring my own.

What a Train Wreck

This long run was a mess. Not much went right and I have some issues I may not be able to resolve by April 18th. I’m also heavier than I want to be and way out of marathon shape.

I guess it can only get better from here!

I’m running to support FamilyAid Boston this year. Your contribution will help homeless families in Boston.

Run well my Friends!


© 2016 andrew nagelin

Training Day with Ryan Hall

Yesterday I posted a brief video of Kara Goucher giving some training advice.

Training Day with Ryan Hall

boston marathon training, training day with ryan hall
photo: Steven Senne/AP

Today I have a 15 minute video that follows a March 2011 training day with Ryan Hall.

Ryan was running a 15 mile tempo run in Flagstaff, AZ. He was in Flagstaff training for the 2011 Boston Marathon to gain the benefits of training at high altitude.

We get a good look at his diet and running nutrition, including his famous Cytomax pancakes. The video also covers he pre-run and post run routine, which is pretty impressive.

Here is Ryan’s interview at the 2011 Boston Marathon finish line. A 2:04:58 finish, American marathon record and still only a 4th place finish. His gratitude for a great run even without the win is great to see. No poor sportsmanship here.

Run well my friends.


Super Sunday Long Run Part II

Super Sunday Long Run

Each year our club volunteers for the “Victorian Fair” in Melrose. Melrose has many Victorian style homes that are just amazing. I have been told that many of these homes were built by railroad owners and executives.

It’s a big street fair with vendors and local civic organizations. The Melrose Running Club always has a booth and manages the 5K race for EMARC.

Because so many of us volunteer at the race, booth or both, the SLR started at 7AM this week. I volunteered to help set up the race, so I missed the group.

After setting up for the race, I had a nice pancake breakfast at The Knights of Columbus and headed out for my solo run.

The solo run

I knew I was going to miss the group run. For the past few days I had considered various routes. Since I was in Melrose to set up for the race any way, I decided to keep it simple and do last weeks run all over again, all 21 miles of it.

Sunday Long Run,training

I’m very good at getting lost, or taking wrong turns at the very least. Why take chances and run a marathon by mistake?

I knew there were three water fountains along this route and that I would pass each one twice. I loaded up my running belt with gels, some cash and my ID and headed out with a frozen water bottle in my hand.

This map is from last week and shows mile 14 past where I hit mile 14 this week.

The Plan and the Execution of said plan

My plan was to practice walking water stops. This is the strategy I am considering for Baystate. As any runner will tell you, don’t try anything new on race day. Long runs are the places to try things out.

Since I wasn’t going to even have club water stops I decided to walk every two miles for a minute. I took my first walk break at mile 3 which was walking up the road into Breakheart Reservation, past the ice rink. It was a good spot as this was the first “hill” I encountered on the run. I had plenty of ice water in my bottle still, so I skipped the fountain at the ranger’s building in the park.

As I was coming down the last hill before the parking lot and ranger’s station my watch chimed “Mile 5.” I decided to hold out until I got to the station and refill my bottle.

I jogged across the parking lot and stopped my watch. Last week I did the same thing and forgot to start my watch for about a quarter-mile. I made my way to the water fountain, refilled my bottle, drank half of it and refilled again. I also took my first GU.

I dropped my GU packet in the trash, started my watch and headed down the drive way back out to The Fellsway.

It was about 10° cooler than last week and much less humid also. It was still warm, so I tried to run in the shade as much as possible. Running in the shade can make a big difference on a warm day, I highly recommend it!

As I turned right onto the Fellsway I knew I was just getting started. I did a quick systems check and nothing really hurt. I wasn’t any more tired than I should have been at 6 miles and my stomach and bladder were not chiming in. All systems go!

I turned onto Main Street in Saugus and began the slow climb to Farm Road in Wakefield. At Water Street I took a right, crossed the road and quickly took a left onto Montrose.

Montrose was hilly and curvy, which is great on a woman but not on a run. Maybe because I was by my self I noticed them more this time. I could feel my legs getting tired and my IB bands were getting tight. The run was on!

I took the left onto Lowell Street and knew the road to the lake was long, and uphill. I passed the little store where Matt stopped for water last week. I drank all but one big gulp of water during my last walk break. I wanted a little something just in case.

At the Vernon Street intersection I had to wait for a fire truck. While all the lights were still red, I made my way through the intersection. I was doing pretty good staying in the shade and felt pretty good considering the distance I had covered.

At the intersection of Main and Lowell, I found my second water fountain, by the lake. I filled up and continued on. My walk breaks were a little off, but that was okay. By the time I got to my third fountain on Church Street (14.1 miles) I was ready for a refill and my third GU. I used the water stop as my walk break and took a minute to stretch a little. The hip abductors and piriformi were tight.

People, oy!

Running around the lake or any popular walking and running area can be a challenge. People walking three abreast can’t be bothered to step back to let you pass. I may only weigh 170, but if I hit one of these folks doing 8mph, I think they are going down. It aint going to be pretty. I have little tolerance for douche-bagery. Not yielding is being an utter douche bag.

People with dogs are pretty good about reeling them in. They know they are in a busy place and they have to be good citizens.

Then there are those times when you have walkers, runners and cyclist all coming at you at the same time. Holy shit! The cyclists are pretty good, though I’ve had a few close calls.

Walkers tend to be utterly fucking clueless. I just had to get that off my chest. I called out “On the right” once today and the lady steps to the right. Heloooo!

I skipped the fountain at the head of the lake, made my way through the Comverse parking lot and headed back out to North Avenue for my second lap around the lake. The people were pretty good, but many seem to forget that they have a 10 foot wide sidewalk.

running splits,training
SLR Splits

I stopped at the fountain on Church Street again (17 miles). I filled my bottle, took a GU and did some stretching. As I was having my way with the fountain another runner stopped and asked if he could get a drink. Absolutely.

We had a good chat about running and how things have changed. We talked about The Melrose Running Club, injuries and the usual stuff. I had taken my last GU and refilled my water bottle for the last 7 miles home. We were both eager to get going and headed in opposite directions.

The haul down Main Street in Wakefield to Main Street Melrose is just over 7 miles. My goal on this run was to test the walk breaks and try to keep fairly consistent splits. Mile 15 was 8:20 which is pretty good considering it was through downtown Wakefield. Mile 18 was 8:21 and mile 20 was 9:44 due to my walk break.

My average pace was 8:42, which was 1:39 per mile faster than last week. I think the method worked, but I’ll want to test it at least one more time before I trust my next marathon to it.

How was your long run this weekend?
Did you try out any new gear, food or strategies?

Run well my friends,


© 2014 anagelin