Portland and Hartford Marathon Course Strategies
Hartford Marathon: Doglegs and Bridges
This is a very popular, well-supported marathon. Key to success will be how you handle the turns as this race has doglegs AND hairpins, coupled with tunnels and bridges. There are too many to count, so stick to the middle of the road, do NOT follow the crowd as they cluster to take each turn as tight as they can, they will waste energy darting from side to side. This will require you to take most turns ‘wide’ and on the outside, and if you’ve run on a track you know those curves act as slingshots- you pick up speed unintentionally as the turn flattens out, trying to keep up with the crowd. DO NOT DO THAT LET THEM GO.
Lock your cage and sit into the first 3 downhill miles, DO NOT GET GREEDY OR TRY TO ‘BANK TIME’. This will bite you later! Keep that cage locked and sit into the rises from miles 3-11. Recover on the gentle downhill miles 11-15, then brace yourself and keep that cage locked for the climb from miles 15-17 that culminates in a hairpin turn. Recover for a mile, then around mile 18 you can start to pick up the effort and pace a touch, the worse is behind you. Gather steam from miles 18-23, hold on tight for #alltheturns that lead you back into town. From mile 25 to the finish run like the last 2k of the EAT!
Portland Marathon: Out and back and up and Over then a freakin’ pretzel?
You start in town then have 2 sharp doglegs to get out of the city and onto the Naito Parkway. THIS IS A GIFT, IT SLOWS YOU DOWN. Miles 2-4 are a slow, steady incline and you will be able to see runners ahead of you, KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AND CONSERVE ENERGY. The good news: once you crest the hill at mile 3 you have 1.5 miles of recovery. LOCK YOUR CAGE AND DO NOT GET GREEDY. Mind the pace cap, do not EVER think that you are behind. You will start passing people very soon.
Slow, flat and steady to mile 11 (watch effort here, you are still holding back!!!!) and that first dogleg back into the city will take out anyone who got greedy on the flat portion you just finished. Slow your roll a bit, there are several turns until mile 13, don’t expect to find a rhythm until then.
Mile 15 is where you need to engage your willpower lock your cage once more, steady effort all the way up the hill and onto the bridge. Don’t pick up TOO much speed coming off of Philadelphia Avenue, but once you settle into Willamette blvd you may pick up the effort a touch and find a steady groove to get you to mile 24, when the twists and turns come back, they look like a pretzel at mile 24. Run the rest like the EAT, feel free to slingshot around the outside of the turns on mile 25.4 and around 26. Basically, after you escape the third pretzel turn at mile 24, start gathering steam and run it like the last 2 sections of the EAT. YOU GOT THIS.
MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she trains runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular Marathon plan, Tenacious AF, free!