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Three Lessons From the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Posted by: on January, 18 2012

First, with the temperature in the 30s at the start of the race, most of the runners started with gloves, hats, or arm warmers on. Hats, gloves, and arm warmers allow athletes who are wearing shorts and singlets to run comfortably throughout the marathon as the temperature rises. When running a fall marathon with an early start time you should consider doing the same – start the race with a few extra articles of clothing that you’re going to ditch along the race route.

Second, if you watched closely you could see that most athletes took fluids at every opportunity. In the marathon you have to teach your body to tolerate fluids; both the concentration of carbohydrate in the solution, as well as the fluid itself. The human body was made to run, but it’s not necessarily made to fuel long runs at high intensity, and even the four hour marathoner will be well served by practicing taking fluids with carbohydrates in practice. So run like a pro and become the type of marathoner who can take fluids at every aid station.

Finally, there were two Nike athletes that really fought to the finish, even though they looked very different doing so.Women’s champion Shalane Flanagan looked fantastic over the final miles, even though she said, “Literally, I didn’t enjoy that last mile; it felt really long.” Dathan Ritzenhein finished fourth, missing making the US Olympic Marathon team by one spot, yet in the final miles he was closing ground on the top three finishers. He fought to the end, running hard by himself, while the top three men ran close to one another. I think it’s important to remember this when running a marathon. If you want to run a PR then you owe it to yourself to run hard to the very end, even if you’re hurting (like Shalane), even if it looks like you might not reach your goal (like Dathan), and even if you’re running in ‘no man’s land’ with no one near you.

Best of luck to the athletes who made the team as they prepare to represent the United States this summer.

-Coach Jay

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

And don’t forget, if you have a training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

Interested in Coach Jay’s General Strength videos? Click here to check them out.

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