The Real Challenges of the Boston Marathon? Steps Down Steps.

The Boston Marathon race is nearing the end of the week, and this means that many runners are frustrated by the final climb, especially the famous Heartbreak hill located 20 miles away.

The ugly secret about Boston, however, is that the training also requires skills that most of the 30,000 participants may have had little time for reflection or preparation – running downhill.

The steep slopes take all the interest but the marathon race, which runs northeast from Hopkinton, Mass., To Copley Square in the Boston’s Back Bay area, is known as the “net downhill” race. It loses about 450 meters above the 262-kilometer stretch, making it unsuitable for international records.

Most of these crashes occur in the first five miles. The starting line is 490 meters above sea level, and the first distance drops to about 130 meters. The course drops another 180 meters when the runners reach Framingham, Mass., The third of the eight municipalities in the course, after five miles. There are small climbs for the next 10 miles, but it is flat and low as the mountain descends to a depth of 60 meters above sea level before the Newton Mountains begin 16 miles[16 km].

But don’t be fooled: a steep slope isn’t fun.

“The quadriceps muscles need to work harder on the floor to help maintain strength and improve gravity,” said Bill Pierce, a professor of health sciences at Furman University in Greenville, SC, and co-author of the well-known training manual, “Run Slowly “Run Fast,” he explained.

Many Boston fighters are aware of the fear that comes when their quads start to drop before the race is over.

Amanda Watters, a 17-time Boston finalist and coach of the Boston Athletic Association’s charity team, said the slope forces athletes to lean, even slightly, to keep from falling. That adjustment causes the foot to move closer to the heel, making it more flexible and, in some cases, greater pressure on quads, calves and hamstrings than running on or off the ground can result.

“It’s a different kind of competition because you use quads a lot in the first half and then the hamstrings in the second half so you have to prepare the muscles to stop,” said Jordan Metzl, a sports therapist. and author of “Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life.”

If you are running the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 18 and have not received a memo on lower education, you may be a little surprised that we waited up to 10 days before the race to write about this. (We have instructions on your next mountain race, however. Subscribe to ours weekly running stories here.) It is too late to do anything wisely that would help on the day of the race other than to run for many miles and avoid injury. But there is a way to manage competition and lower it in the first half which can reduce pain and is a game that pain can bring about many times.

Jess Movold, coach of the Runner’s World + staff, said that if strength and mountain training were not part of your planning, then look at what you can control. Run wisely. Be light and quick on your feet. Lead by waist. Watch your hands and move around properly. “Be careful in the first few miles when you look at what you are hearing,” Movold said. “Reduce the impact. Keep up the good work. “

In the name of Paul Revere, do not, we repeat, do not rush out. There may be a bus racer to the start or in the yard boasting that it will not last more than three hours. Do not ignore them.

Dave McGillivray, race manager, said patience is the key, “wait a bit in the first half so you all avoid collisions and you have something left in the tank in the second half.” He would know. This is McGillivray’s 50th consecutive Boston Marathon. He will be running at night, after his race to lead the race is over.

But self-control can be a challenge in a way that tries to get out quickly, with gravity in the lower extremities including all the fun of a race day. Boston plays a very active part in every major seasonal competition. It takes almost every athlete to meet the requirements. The McGillivray competition system is worth considering, however.

“I slow down my pace slowly down the mountains, almost like I’m moving rather than running to stop all the bumps, and it works,” McGillivray said. “I could be walking slower than I would if it were smooth. It’s fine, and for me it’s better than hitting the hills and then playing the last 10K survivor game.

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