What’s The Best Racing Strategy?

What’s The Best Racing Strategy?

Whether you want to beat your own records or win a race, you will have to establish a racing strategy in order to perform well. There are three main racing strategies in long-distance running, and each one can work.

 

  • Negative Split – The first half of your race is slower than the second half
  • Even Split – You run a consistent pace for the entire race
  • Positive Split – The first half of your race is faster then the second half

Regardless of the distance of the race, I see people go out too fast all the time. Weather it’s a 5K or a marathon.

At a 5K, people will bolt across the start line and then slow down or walk before they hit the first mile. I always say that anyone can run a fast mile. It’s mile two and three that count in a 5K.

At a marathon it’s easy for anyone to get carried away by their nerves and the crowd. Even if you are not fit to run a full marathon, you can feel great for the first few miles.

I’m a big fan of negative or even splits. If you go out too fast or push too hard during the first half of a half or full marathon you may be forced to run (or walk!) the second half of the race.

I’ve run positive split races but never intentionally. I’ve started races feeling in shape and prepared and gone out too fast. What may seem like a good pace can turn into a disaster for several reasons.

You may not have hydrated or fueled properly before a race. This can happen if you do not have a pre-race routine to manage this, or you did not have time to go through your routine.

If you did not look at the course map, there may be hills early in the race you do not know about.

Sometimes the conditions turn against you. If you didn’t dress properly or something unexpected happens during the race, you may have to run positive splits.

This Nation of Running article suggests that positive splits may be good for new runners. For positive splits you run faster than your goal pace, “bank” the time you get from running faster than your goal pace and then use it up in the second half of your race.

You just have to hope you have planned and trained well enough to have enough juice left for the second half of the race.

I’ve done this for several marathons but over the years have changed my mind. There is nothing worse than having to walk during the last five miles of a marathon. Between 15 and 20 miles is when the wheels come off the bus for most runners who flame out. It sucks.

With age and experience I’ve come to the conclusion that even or negative splits are the best running strategy.

Long distance running requires you to manage your energy. Maintaining control of my pace and fueling during the race have proven to work best for me.

Some of my best races have been half marathons where I ran negative splits. They may not have been my fastest races but I finished running hard and feeling great.

Talk about a runner’s high!

2019 Boston Marathon, Comm Ave onto Hereford Street

These running strategies apply mainly to marathons and half marathons. 10Ks require some energy management but 5Ks are best run flat out. If you don’t feel like you are about to die for most of a 5K, you’re not running hard enough.

I am certainly not a professional runner and I’ve only won one 5K in my life. A total shocker!

You can train and run races casually and have a good time. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you want to run your best you need to train and you need a running strategy for each distance that you run.

One of the true joys in my life is running a well run race.

What’s your running strategy?

2019 Race Directory Updates

2019 Race Directory Updates are on-going. Be sure to check back for updates and additions as the year goes on. Have a great 2019 running year and run well my Friends!

As we roll into 2019 I’ll be making Race Directory updates with new dates and hopefully a few new races.

The most popular race directory that I keep is the New England Marathons Fall. I started tracking these marathons in 2015 and last year the post just took off.

Now that winter is officially here I’ll be changing the name to New England Marathons Fall 2019 this week. Not to worry, I will keep the same URL for the blog post. If you have it book marked you won’t have to make any changes.

I’m glad that the Fall Marathons directory became popular and not the Summer Marathons post. Fall has enough marathons in New England to keep things interesting without it becoming a full time job for me.

5K Race Directory Updates

I will also continue to update the 5K race directories for local cities and towns. Just like for the marathon listings, I’ll keep the same URL and change the title only.

Unlike most directories published by the big web sites, I will not inundate you with ads and pop ups. I will mention the My First 5K medal on occasion. Many 5Ks only award the top three runners over all and often age-group winners.

Unlike the corporate web sites, I often speak with the race director. This lets me get dates listed quicker and get the latest updates.

Without all of the ads and clutter, it is much easier to find a race in your town on my directories. Here are two popular listings that I will be updating shortly:

Somerville 5K Race Directory

Cambridge 5K Race Directory

GBA St. Patrick’s Day Races

Most other cities and towns only have a handful of races, so it’s hard to put together much of a listing. I may consolidate some of these other directories into regional directories.

Melrose 5K Race Directory 2019

Melrose 5K racesMelrose is a very active town. There is a YMCA, Melrose Boot Camp and a large and active running club, the Melrose Running ClubWhenever I drive through town I see runners everywhere. 

If you are promoting a race that I do not have listed here, please contact me at info@omnirunning.com.

For 2019 I added two races but three have been cancelled. One of the three may return and I hear that a different organization may take over the EMARC race during The Victorian Fair. 

Are you planning a new Melrose 5K. I’d be happy to provide any advice and support that I can.

Melrose 5K Race Directory

2nd Annual Love Blooms 5K

14 April 2019 – 9:00 AM – Sunday

Melrose Common

Proceeds support families impacted by TTTS. All proceeds are going directly to the Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation.

Registration was $25 and $35 day-of.

2019 Race Results

Melrose Run for Women

Mother’s Day 2020 9:00 AM – SundayMother's Day Race, melrose 5K race directory

2020 will be the 23rd anniversary of this Melrose Mother’s Day tradition.  Produced by the Melrose Running Club this 3.5 mile women only road race draws around 1,000 runners each year.

All proceeds benefit Melrose Alliance Against Violence (MAAV). Since 1998 over $170,000 has been donated.

Awards are given to the top finishers, the first mother and grandmother to finish, and best mother/daughter team finishers. Awards are also given to top age group finishers.

Each runner receives a carnation as they cross the finish line.

This race event features children’s races for the following age groups:

4 and under – 50-100 meter dash on grass (weather permitting)
5-7 – 100 meter dash on grass (weather permitting)
8-10 – 1 loop around track ¼ mile run
(Younger children can choose to run the ¼ mile)

Registration was $28.00 through May 8th. Day-of registration is $35.00.

Melrose Firefighters Fathers Day 5K

16 June 2019 9:30 AM – Sunday

melrose 5K races, firefighters 5k2020 will be the 7th running of this Melrose 5K race which raises money for the Melrose Firefighters Relief Association.

The fun starts with a free kids race where everyone wins! Music, snacks, and fire trucks will abound.  Sign up for the kids race is on race day and is FREE of charge.

T-shirts to the first 300 5K registrants.

Registration was $25 or $30 for day-of registration.

Mary O’Donnell 5K to Cure ALS

11 August 2019 9:00 AM  

This race takes place at Pine Banks Park in Melrose. 2019 was the 4th running of the Mary O’Donnell 5K to benefit The Angel Fund.

Registration was $30.

Race Results

Melrose Octoberfest 5k Road Race

October TBD, 2019 10:00 AM – Sunday CANCELLED

The Victoria McLaughlin Foundation is hosting an Octoberfest 5k road race to benefit the Melrose Public Schools. In addition to the race there will be an after party beginning at 11 am at the Knight of Columbus Hall.

This race may return in 2020.

Melrose Family YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K

26 October  2019 8:30 AM – Saturday

2019 is the 10th year for the Spooky Sprint

spooky sprint 5k, kids race, melrose 5K race directoryThis race begins at the Y and travels through charming downtown Melrose and through beautiful Pine Banks. Bring your costumes and family!

All proceeds benefit the Melrose Family YMCA’s Growing Stronger Together scholarship fund which ensures no one in the community is turned away for inability to pay.

In 2015 the YMCA of Metro North provided more than one million dollars in financial aid providing all children, adults and families with opportunities to develop a healthy spirit, mind and body regardless of income.

Registration is was: $30 for adults and $20 for 18 and under.

Assault on Mt. Hood

December TBD, 2019 – Noon

assault on Mt Hood, cross country2019 will be the 15th running on this 3.5 mile XC race.

This race has become an early winter tradition for cross-country runners from the GBA and beyond. The race is run on the Mt. Hood golf course and the route is slightly different year-to-year depending on conditions.

The race organizers seek to make the course more challenging each year. So come prepared to climb hills!

This Melrose Running Club production features awards, refreshments, Huge Post Race Party and a Commemorative Pint Glass to the first 250 Applicants.

Melrose 5K Race Directory Updates

Please let me know if I missed a race or if your group is starting a race for next year. I will be more than happy to add your race or make any corrections to the races listed.

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Fall Races in New England

Fall Races you should check out

Saugus YMCA 5K Nov. 7th at 9AM. The race is in Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. Some pretty good hills, all on a paved road.  All proceeds will benefit the Saugus Family YMCA Scholarship Fund.

The Runway 5k Oct. 21st at 10AM Concord, NH –  At the Concord Municipal Airport  ON THE RUNWAYS!  Benefiting GSAMA Aviation and STEM education. Family fun and  non-perishable food drive. RACE DAY REGISTRATION ONLY

run for all ages 5k, 65 plus, fall racesThe Run for All Ages 5k Nov. 4th 10AM Wakefield, around Lake Quannapowitt.  Cash prizes for masters age graded winners, and folks 80 and up run for free! RACE DAY REGISTRATION ONLY

RED, WHITE AND BLUE RUN 5K Nov. 19th at 8:30AM in Wrentham. This 5K road race race benefits Fisher House Boston which assists Veterans and their families.

Edaville Rail Run 5 Miler Nov. 14th at 10AM in South Carver. This family friendly races features Bob Merritt’s famous clam “Chowda.” Proceeds benefit the “Dorine Merritt Memorial Fund.”

Myles Standish Marathon and Marathon Relay Nov. 15th at 8AM in Plymouth. Proceeds benefit the Plymouth Area Coalition Food Pantry.

Harborside Half Marathon Nov. 19th at 9AM in Newburyport, MA – only about 200 bibs left. Post-race party features Smuttynose and food at Michael’s Harborside.

Gobble Wobble for SMILE Mass 5k/10k Nov. TBD at 10AM in Sudbury at the Curtis Middle School. Proceeds benefit the SMILE Mass programs of beach wheelchairs and equipment loaner programs. 

MarathonSportsJingleBellRun_Somerville_Santa_12162012Marathon Sports Jingle Bell Run – Dec. 17th at 11AM Somerville. I’ve run this race several times and it is always fun. Several thousand runners show up in Somerville’s Davis Square. Currently they are over 70% sold out, so don’t wait to register for this fun race. This is a B&S Events Management event and  They are collecting un-wrapped toys for local children.

These are just a few fall races around New England

Enjoy the great fall running weather and get out for a great fall race with your friends and family.

Run well my friends,

Andy

© 2015 Andrew Nagelin

New England Fall Marathons 2015

Fall in New England is a great time to run a marathon.

Usually the heat and humidity of summer are gone and the snow is yet to fly. For many runners, Fall is their favorite time to run a marathon. I compiled this list from a web site called Race Raves. This site has race reviews and you can add your own review.

When available I’ve also added links to course videos from Viewtherace.comThese videos are 20 minutes or so long and narrated to give you a few more tips on what to expect.

Some race links have been disabled.

New England Fall Marathons

Joe English Twilight Challenge

Saturday, September 26th, 2015   –   6 Hour Ultra, Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Relay

Freestyle Farm, 188 Mack Hill Road, Amherst, New Hampshire

The Joe English Twilight Challenge is an evening/night trail run hosted by Freestyle Farm in Amherst, NH. The event consists of a marathon, a half-marathon and a 6-hour ultra-marathon. The marathon and half-marathon may be run individually or by relay teams. The relay teams (half or full marathon) consist of 2 or 5 runners completing either 5 or 10 laps on a 2.62-mile loop beginning at 7:00 p.m. The 6-hour ultra-marathon begins at 5:00 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m. Ultra participants run the 2.62-mile loop continuously for 6 hours.

Most of the race will be run at night on the groomed equestrian trails at Freestyle Farm.

The event is expected to draw 350 runners ranging from casual athletes to experienced ultra-runners. The event is set within a unique venue with high quality trails around a 50-acre pond. The course will be marked with fluorescent light sticks, ground flags and signal fires.

This is race reminds me of The Ultra Around the Lake in Wakefield. You gotta love a race that uses signal fires to keep you on course.

Registration is $35 and $45 day of. That’s a great price for a half marathon, or run a 6-hour ultra and see how many miles you can do.

Clarence Demar Marathon and Half-Marathon

Sunday, September 27th, 2015  –  8AM start time

Keene, NH

This is a race almost as legendary as the man. In Melrose we run by the monument to Clarence Demar on our winter running route and on many Sunday Longs runs as well. Many runners in my club make it a point to touch the monument as they run by. Many of my friends have run this race, some of them have run it a few times.

This race encompasses an entire weekend if you want it to. You can drive up to Keene Friday night and pick up your bib at Ted’s Shoe & Sport on Main Street. Drive the course or go for a short run on Saturday. Saturday night there is a pasta dinner at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

On Sunday buses will take runners to the starting line. Marathon buses leave at 6:15, Half-Marathon buses start leaving at 6:30AM.

If you have never heard of Clarence Demar here is a brief bio.

New Hampshire Marathon and Half-Marathon

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015  –  9AM

Bristol, NH 

This event features a Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10K, 5K Health Walk and Kid’s Marathon. Truly something for everyone. You may want to drive up Friday and enjoy the pasta dinner at 7:30pm at the Union Lodge, and get a good night’s sleep. Lodging options are listed on the race web site.

Viewtherace.com NH Marathon course video

NipMuck Trail Marathon

Sunday, October 4th, 2015  –  8AM

Ashford, CT

The NipMuck Trail Marathon is a classic old-school trail race taking place along a northern section of  the Nipmuck Trail. The race aims to preserve many of the qualities from the early days of the New England trail racing scene.

Now in it’s 32nd year this out and back double loop race is not for first timers. The race site warns of rough terrain and that in some areas an injured runner may wait an hour or more for medical assistance.

Only 150 runners may register. Additional details and warnings are on the registration site. Registration is $45.

Maine Marathon and Half-Marathon

Sunday, October 4th, 2015  –  7:45AM

Portland, Maine

Registration is $90 for the Marathon, $65 for The Half and $160 for the Marathon Relay, until September 27th. The combined races are capped at 3,500 runners. Registration closes when that number is met or September 27th, which ever comes first. So don’t wait!

Pasta dinner is at 4:30 at the USM cafeteria which is next to Sullivan Gym where the Expo and packet pickup are located.

I ran the race a few years ago and there was plenty of parking on campus. Crowd support was pretty good and the race was well organized.

Viewtherace.com Maine Marathon course video

Hartford Marathon and Half-Marathon

Saturday, October 10th, 2015  –  8AM

Hartford, CT

I ran this marathon in 2012 and had a great and very eventful experience. The race is very well-organized with lots of community and spectator support. They have some very cool features as well.

Hartford offers a “Pre Perks Package” that will make you feel like an elite runner. For $65 you get:

a VIP heated , indoor space with access to real toilets
Race packet and shirt mailed to you
Race Day VIP Parking
Personal baggage check
Option to personalize your bib

They limit this to 400 runners, click the link for details.

Friday night is the pasta dinner at 6PM at The Hartford Club. All three races start at 8AM. The kids fun run, HMF FitKids Run starts at 9:30AM.

Registration is $105 for the Marathon, $75 for the Half and $35 for the 5K. Prices increase on September 30th and there is no race day registration. They charge $15 to mail your packet and strongly encourage you to visit the Expo Friday to pick up your packet and visit all the cool vendor booths. There is no race day packet pickup.

Check the registration page for relay team and youth prices.

The HMF FitKids Run is $10.

Check out this info graphic on the HMF sustainability efforts. Some really cool stuff here that more races should be doing.

Ocean State Rhode Races

Sunday, October 11th, 2015 – 7:30AM

Narragansett, RI

The Marathon starts at 7:30AM, Half at 8AM and the 5K at 8:15AM. These races feature FREE PHOTOS and a secured bag check at the start.

Registration is still open and is $100 for the Marathon, $75 for the Half and $35 for the 5K. The Half-Marathon is part of the Triple Crown series of Rhode Island Half-Marathons.

UnitedHealthcare Newport Marathon & Half

Sunday, October 11th, 2015 – 7:30AM

Newport, RI

Shuttle service to the start begins at 5AM. FREE PHOTOS and bag check will be available. Race Day registration begins at 5:15AM! The first $15 of each registration goes to support five local charities. 

Registration is $97 for the Marathon and $77 for the Half-Marathon. thru October 8th. Add $10 for October 9, 10 and 11.

Green Mountain Marathon & Half

Sunday, October 11th, 2015 – 8:30AM

South Hero, VT 

This race has reached it’s maximum registration of 750 and is closed.

The race begins and ends near the house where Clarence Demar once lived.  Infinite Pasta-bilities Dinner is Saturday night  at Folsom School, 4 – 7PM.

Good luck to everyone who managed to register!

Baystate Marathon & Half Marathon

Sunday, October 18th, 2015 – 8AM

Lowell, MA

marathon,running,baystateThis is a great marathon that I have run twice. Registration is still open for both races but getting is down to the last few hundred spots as of this writing. Registration is $95 for the Marathon and $75 for the Half-Marathon.

If you are looking to qualify for Boston, this is a good choice. The race is mostly flat with the bridges over the Merrimack having the most elevation gain. Part of the course is a double loop, so it can be challenging to see the “Mile 22” sign when you are at Mile 12 and starting to feel it.

Viewtherace.com Baystate Marathon course video 

Mount Desert Marathon, Half and Relay

Sunday, October 18th, 2015 – 8AM – Marathon and Marathon Relay,
Half begins at 8:30 in Northeast Harbor

Bar Harbor, ME

Unfortunately the Half and Relay are sold out and the Marathon stopped taking registration on September 18th.

This popular race begins in Bar harbor, hits the half-way mark near Northeast Harbor and ends in Southwest Harbor. MDI has some of the most beautiful scenery and you will get to take it all in at the perfect pace.

Good luck to everyone who managed to register. This is one I want to run someday.

Cape Cod Marathon

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 – 8:30AM

Falmouth, MA

Registration is $85 through October 25th or until all 1,200 bibs are spoken for.

Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Marathon Half

Saturday October 24th – 7:30AM

Begins at Town Hall Square in Falmouth. Registration is $75 through October 25th or until all 1,200 bibs are spoken for.

Cape Cod Marathon Relay

Sunday, October 25th, 8:30AM

This five leg relay costs $160 per team with up to 200 teams allowed to participate. No race day registrations are allowed.

Clam Chowdah Challenge

Falmouth, marathon, new england fall marathons

Why not make a weekend on The Cape out of it and run both the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday?

For $175, 200 lucky runners will get to face the ultimate challenge and go for the Clam Chowdah Challenge mug.  There is no race day registration for this event either. 

Registration for the Clam Chowder Challenge is still open as of September 20th.

LOCO Marathon and Half

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 – 8AM

Newmarket, NH

46% of LOCO Marathon runners qualified for Boston last year! Amazing! Many of you may be familiar with the Great Bay Half Marathon and those killer hills. These races take a different rout with very few hills, none of any significance – according to LOCO Mike.

The Marathon is a double loop of the Half-Marathon. It’s all country roads and 3 miles of rail trail.

This is a runner’s race. The finish time cut-off for 59 years and under is 4:30. For 60 and older it is 5 hours even. Most marathons have a 6 hour cut-off time. If you are running to see the foliage, you may want to pick another race. If marathon runners cannot make the half-way mark by 2:15 or 2:30 for 60+ years, you will be pulled from the course!

Oh, and marathon runners MUST bring photo. So no faking 60+ to get the extra 30 minutes to finish the race!

Cut-off time for the Half-Marathon is 2:30.

Registration is $85 for the marathon and $100 on race day. The Half is $70 through October 21st. Limits of 1,000 runners total.

Black Goose Marathon & Seekonk Half

Sunday, November 1st, 2015 – 8AM

Seekonk, MA

Both races start out together and split off at mile 5. A few miles later the races re-join each other. There is a 6-hour time limit for the marathon.

This is the inaugural year for these races. I hate to be negative but the Active.com registration page has typos. The event web site says registration prices increase on 9/1, but as of 9/20 they still had the old price of $50 for the marathon and $35 for the Half. Active.com has the higher prices.

Ocean State Multi-Sport manages many races, so I’m sure the races will be fine. There is also a 5K as part of the event, but I could not find any details beyond the price, $17.00.

Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half & Relay

Sunday, November 1st, 2015 – 8:50

Manchester, NH

Another popular race with Boston area runners. I’ve never run it but several friends have and they had good things to say. The web site describes the race as hilly, challenging and scenic. The race is a Boston Qualifier, but they don’t make it sound easy. Well, easy for a marathon.

On-Line Registration is $90 for the Marathon, $80 for the Half, $160 for the Marathon Relay and $80 for the Half Relay. There is NO race day registration and NO race day packet pickup.

They request that runners pick up their own packets and bring photo ID.

Course time limit is 6 hours. They have an early start at 7:40AM if you feel you cannot finish within the 6 hour time limit.

The Expo is more than just an Expo. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield will be offering screenings and tips on health and wellness.

Viewtherace.com Manchester City Marathon course video

Roxbury Marathon

Sunday, December 12th, 2015 – 8:30AM

Roxbury, CT

Held in the Hurlburt Recreation Area, this race is scenic, hilly and possibly chilly. The race web site does show two runners running in the snow.

Registration is $15, and that can’t be beat. They have water stations and course marshals. Here is the report from the race director, Scott Benjamin on the 2014 race. This is reportedly the only December marathon in New England.

Have you picked a fall marathon yet? I’m not in marathon shape, but that LOCO Marathon sounds interesting to me!

Run well my friends!

Andy

© 2015 andrew nagelin

Boston Marathon Weather

Boston Marathon Weather predictions

As the Marathon gets closer, runners spend more time obsessing over Boston area weather on Marathon Monday. New England weather is notoriously unpredictable, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to figure it out.

Boston Marathon, runningRunner’s World wrote a good article about Boston Marathon weather in 2013. This was a year after the blistering hot 2012 marathon that baked so many runner’s beans. Weather was a top concern one year after that roaster.

Here is a graph from that article that shows recent race day temps.

boston marathon weather

The average temperature has trended up over 13 years from around 60º to around 70º. But as you can see, there have been plenty of recent years when the temperature never or barely breached 60º.

Look at the race start temps signified by the green blocks. Most race starts are in the 40s or 50s with only 4 being 60 or higher. Also notice the range of temperature on race day.

In 2004 the race start temperature was 77º but the chart shows somewhere along the way the temp dipped below 50º. In 2007 the 48º race start temp was just about the high for the day. See the Runner’s world article for more on that day.

What we know

We know that in the morning it is generally cooler. As the sun comes up and the race heads to Boston temperatures generally rise.

From experience I can tell you that when you get into Boston you are going to get some cold breezes off of the cold harbor water. When you are running past BC up to Cleveland Circle it may be sunny and warm. Heading out of Cleveland Circle you may start to experience some of these harbor breezes.

It’s a tough time to take a chill. Your energy stores are depleted and most likely you don’t have anything extra with you to put on.

I would anticipate this chill and just know that it is coming. There is nothing you can really do about it.

boston marathon
Runner’s World photo

For the race start you should bring some “throw-away” clothes or a garbage bag that you can wear. If you take the BAA buses you won’t spend a lot of time at the Runner’s Village, but your time there can be cold.

After the first mile you will be warmed up and any chill should be gone.

If it’s sunny and hot, try to run in as much shade as possible

What we don’t know

With the winter we have had in Boston this year, who knows what we will get on Marathon Monday. The temps are trending up but we did have snow flurries in Boston just last week.

A cold front could come through in the last minute. That could bring showers or drizzle: the cold dampness that just sucks the heat out of your body.

It could also be a beautiful spring day with temps in the 50s and a light breeze. With the restrictions on what you can bring with you to Hopkinton, you really need to be prepared and stay on top of the most recent weather predictions.

Runner’s Resources

Here is a link to some weather apps for your Android phone from theDroidReview. These are free to download. Here is the link to the Runner’s World article also. The article is a great read.

Here is a link to Boston’s WBZ-TV on-line weather page. For everyone coming from out of town, you’ll want to book mark this page and perhaps down load their app. Who knows local weather better than WBZ?

  • Do you have any tips for first time Boston runners?
  • How do you deal with adverse running conditions?
  • Do you use “throw-away clothes?”

Run well my friends and have a great race,

Andy