Ann Alyanak On How She Coaches First-Time Marathon Runners

Another Run SMART coach comes out against the “magic 20 and 22 milers” for beginner marathoners. We all know Jack is very adamant about his 2:30 hour cap on long runs for beginners and we pretty much rest our case there but in an interview with Run SMART Media, Ann Alyanak says “20 and 22 mile long runs are not necessary” for a first-time marathon runner looking to finish the race.

RS:  When you get a client who wants to run a marathon but has never run a race before what do you tell them?

ANN:  I would not discourage a client from running a marathon even if they have not raced before but I would encourage them to run some shorter races first like a 5k and 10k and maybe even a half marathon. I would want them just to experience a race environment before jumping right into a marathon.

Warming Up For A Marathon With Ann Alyanak

We asked Run SMART coach Ann Alyanak what her marathon warm-up routine is and what she recommends to her clients.

Ann: My typical marathon warm-up is a mile shakeout about 3 hours before the race. I do this right after I wake up and before I eat breakfast. This is just to help me wake up and get some blood flowing. Then about 30 minutes before the race I will run very easy for about 10 minutes and do some light stretching. I will do a couple very light strides as well. I don’t do anything hard or long because I want to conserve my energy for the race. The first couple miles of the marathon kind of serve as a warm-up too.

Boston Marathon Racing Tips

We asked Run SMART coaches Heidi Peoples and Ann Alyanak for some last minute Boston Marathon tips. Both coaches know the course well. Ann was 8th female overall at Boston in 2007 and Heidi ran 2:45 at Boston in 2010.

Heidi Peoples:  The Boston Marathon is an incredible event but can definitely be overwhelming. I felt like an ant in an anthill following crowds to the expo, church, subways, dinner, and even the hotel. Everyone seems like they are going the same place, doing the same things to prepare for the marathon. Mentally it can be exhausting! Since I ran in the elite field of women, my experience was a bit unique – no crowds at the start, and the field of women separated rather quickly. I went out fast to stay with a group, and paid for it at the end of the race.

Should The Boston Marathon Course Be Legal?

NYRR hosted a good debate about whether the Boston Marathon course should be legal for world-record purposes. As it stands the course is not legal because it’s point-to-point and its net elevation loss exceeds the IAAF’s limits. We asked some of our coaches to weigh in and it looks like they all agree with the current rule. Jack thinks without last year’s extreme tailwind, times would have been up to 5 minutes slower.

Jack Daniels:  Some years ago I calculated the benefit of the overall downhills of Boston and it was published in Runners World. I went as far as to calculate the time loss during various uphill segments and the gain of various downhill segments. I have a copy of that publication somewhere and will try to find it. Obviously when you see a picture of someone with long hair running Boston and their hair is being blown out in front of their face, they have a pretty good tailwind. I actually have data on the benefits of tailwinds of different velocities and headwinds of various velocities and no question headwinds hurt more than tailwinds help. Something I have always felt might be a good question to ask is what time do you think they would have run last year on Boston if the course had been run in the reverse direction — any guesses here? I would certainly think more than 5 minutes slower.

Ann Alyanak Joins Run SMART Coaching Staff

We’re very excited to announce that Ann Alyanak (pictured above representing the U.S. in the marathon at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan) is our most recent addition to the Run SMART private coaching staff. Ann not only brings another impressive athletic resume to our staff, she has a strong background both academically and through her experience as a former Division I college coach. Read more about Ann’s resume below and make sure to cheer her on this weekend in Houston as she competes in her second Olympic Trials in the marathon!