Question: How to pace the Steamtown Marathon
Run SMART Coach: Don’t buy into the hype that you have to make up some time on the downhills early in the race. I would definitely advise against trying to bank some time early to make up for any slowdown later in the race. The key is not to get too excited in the first 8 miles where most of the elevation drop occurs. At the same time you don’t want to stomp all the way down the hills in the very beginning. Focus on shortening your stride a bit an shuffling down early, leaning slightly forward for less impact, less breakdown of the legs, and then be very mindful of the fact when your cruising slightly downhill. You should be using that time to conserve energy and relax at paces you’d normally work a little harder at. If you’re way ahead of pace but feeling great early I don’t see that as technically a good thing. The downhills can drag you out too fast and then that’s when the uphills at the end get their reputation. If you pace well early without trying to make up for potential lost time later you’ll be fine.
We’ve actually had some people negative split Steamtown because they relaxed early on and then finished strong. You can really conserve early but stay on pace and use less energy as usual so then you can run a faster than normal the last half even with the hills at the end. Remember, those hills are a little steep but they’re not as bad as you think. They’re not long enough or deadly enough to ruin your race as long as you pace well early on. Just put your head down, and try to keep your cadence short and fast.