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Is Boston really a fast course? (Read 1285 times)


Queen of 3rd Place

    So...maybe a dumb question...but I keep hearing that Boston can be a fast course (weather permitting and all that), is this true? I have one friend who has set all her best times there by a large margin, that and the fact that Mutai's run didn't count as a record supports this. I was thinking of going for a PR there and am looking (with some trepidation) at a tough training program. 

    Ex runner

      AIUI normally Boston isn't really a fast course. But the thing that made a difference this year is the wind - most of the time the wind was behind and it was pretty strong. This is why point to point courses are not permitted for WR purposes - if you have a strong wind behind you the whole way it makes a big difference.

       

      If you're looking for a fast course you're better off trying for one that's very flat. Or of course downhill all the way. if you don't care whether it's valid for IAAF records.

      xor


        Fiddlesticks.

         

        My PR (and 2 of my 3 previous PRs) were on rolling courses.  The hills at Boston don't *seem* particularly scary to this west coaster... but I could be wrong.

         

        I know several folks.... yo, bhearn... who consider Boston to be fast.  IF, like with any course, you run it "properly".  I'd love to hear advice on that myself. I'm sure a lot of the people who smack the wall here went out too fast because they were all amped up from the race vibe.

         

          Obviously it can be since the fastest marathon in history was run there. But usually it is not. At all.

          Runners run.


          Feeling the growl again

            IF the weather is good...the odds of which are reduced from the late start...AND you get a strong wind from the right direction, yes it can be a fast course.  In the hundred-odd years the race has been run, you can count the times that the stars have lines up to make if faster than a flat course on one hand and still pick your nose.

             

            There is a reason that all recent WRs have been set on courses like Chicago, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam.  Flat is fast, and Boston is not flat.  No, it is not particularly scary but that does not make it faster than a flat course.  Even the net downhill doesn't.

             

            If you are good enough to consistently run the course well like bhearn, you can suffer far less than people who approach it with the wrong strategy.

            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

             


            I'm back!

              Yeah, obviously *I* think it is fast. The main thing about Boston is, it's a very easy course to screw up. It's unforgiving of bad pacing. I've got my Boston pacing plan down to a science. My two fastest times are there, and I've negative split there the past 5 years. I'm happy to re-post pacing details for anyone who's interested.

               

              Of course a tailwind helps. Even so, the course is net downhill, it has a fast finish, and the sheer energy generated by the fans is palpable.

               

              Spaniel, one reason that WRs have been set on courses like Chicago, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam, and not Boston, is that -- of course -- Boston is not eligible for WRs. Anyone going for a WR would not choose Boston as a goal race.

               

              Actually I've never run a fast, flat course as a goal race. Houston will be a goal race for me in January, and I'm not quite sure what to expect vs. Boston.


              Feeling the growl again

                 

                 

                Spaniel, one reason that WRs have been set on courses like Chicago, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam, and not Boston, is that -- of course -- Boston is not eligible for WRs. Anyone going for a WR would not choose Boston as a goal race.

                 

                 

                This is true, of course, but over the years a lot of people who have chased WRs on flat courses have run Boston, typically a good bit slower.

                 

                While the course is NET downhill, the climbing is not insignificant.  You lose a lot more climbing hills than you get back going down them.  I know you've had good results there personally -- as have I, excluding last year -- but overall I think there is ample evidence that it's not a "fast course" in general.

                 

                Your view may change after you're run 1-2 pancake courses while in good shape. Wink

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 

                  I think Boston is really a fast course for half marathon PRs.

                    Speaking of Boston.... got an interesting question for you.

                     

                    I am running Las Vegas marathon next weekend.  The 2012 BQ standard for me is 3:20 and the 2013 standard is 3:15.

                     

                    I expect to be somewhere between the two times with a good race.

                     

                    Here is my question.... Can I SAY I qualified for Boston if I run a 3:17 knowing that 2012 is sold out already?  Technically (if it wasn't sold out) that would still be a qualifying time for 2012, correct?

                    2014 Goals

                    Weight - 200 lbs (stuck around 211)

                    2000 miles (1700 as of September 10)

                    Stay healthy for Boston 2015

                    Marathon - 3:05 (St. George in October)

                    5k - 19:55 (19:43 July 4, 2014)

                     


                    A Saucy Wench

                      I think what made Boston tough for me had nothing to do with the course itself and everything to do with the race logistics.  Like the rest of the west coasters I didnt find the hills particularly tough or daunting, and my running p PR'd on the course.  But for me I did not manage my pre-race nutrition well with the extremely lengthy process. But I have blood sugar problems so ymmv

                       

                      Bottom line Arla is you have room for a PR.  Your HM time this summer is pretty significant vs. where you were before your marathon PR. You are faster this year than last year and with a good solid training program you personally have a very good shot at a PR regardless of whether this is a "fast course" or not.  Manage your training, manage the pre race, manage the course and I think it is very doable for you

                      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                       

                      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                      No Talent Drips

                         

                        Here is my question.... Can I SAY I qualified for Boston if I run a 3:17 knowing that 2012 is sold out already?  Technically (if it wasn't sold out) that would still be a qualifying time for 2012, correct?

                         You can SAY whatever you like, but I'd urge you to work toward the 2013 standard; you could say you met the standard--but the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Qualify and run the thing.

                         

                        To the OP, my opinion is in line with BHearn's. I think Boston can be fast (I had a PR there), but it is not an easy course. The first six miles are significantly downhill and this, combined with the risk of racing out of the gate with the masses, can result in trashed quads early. There is another steep downhill around mile 15...another dangerous spot if you don't learn to run downhills.  Newton (up)Hills are can feel like a welcome change if you've run the course right. And the finish can be fast. Just don't make the mistakes that 99% of runners do. Don't be that 99%. 

                         

                         

                          Bottom line Arla is you have room for a PR.  Your HM time this summer is pretty significant vs. where you were before your marathon PR. You are faster this year than last year and with a good solid training program you personally have a very good shot at a PR regardless of whether this is a "fast course" or not.  Manage your training, manage the pre race, manage the course and I think it is very doable for you

                           

                          This is well said. Course difficulty is actually a pretty small variable in terms of marathoning for most of us. It gets overemphasized because it is a variable that is really easy to control. But if you are fit and smart in your pacing and have a good day, you will run fast, regardless of the course. (It took me 3 years to beat my marathon time from CMM [hilly] on a 70 degree day... and I tried on flat fast courses!)

                            For me, it is not  fast but not especially slow either.  I ran Philly 2010 (a very nice flat course) in 3:00:45 and Boston 2011, with very similar fitness, in 3:01:43.  It is a decent course if, like everyone says, you run it properly.  Seven months before Philly 2010 I ran Boston for the first time.....I did NOT run it properly and my 3:08 and change was the most painful, miserable race finish of my life.

                            Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.


                            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                              ...

                              Spaniel, one reason that WRs have been set on courses like Chicago, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam, and not Boston, is that -- of course -- Boston is not eligible for WRs. Anyone going for a WR would not choose Boston as a goal race.

                               

                              ...

                               

                              The wikipedia marathon record progression shows three records on Boston - (men's 1947, women's 1975 & 1983).

                              It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                                ask baddawg

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