Monday, April 13, 2009

NJ marathon route practice run

When I read that New Jersey Road Runners was organizing a 20 mile practice run three weeks before the NJ marathon, it was a no-brainer for me to attend. All I knew about the route was that it was a repeat loop. I wanted to at least "feel" the route once before the marathon. I also wanted to get a better feel for pacing the last few miles of the route before the race.

The course, as it turns out, was largely uneventful. It starts on the boardwalk and basically makes its way into the Long Branch residential areas. There were just enough turns to keep me from thinking that I was running endlessly. Still, there are a couple of straightaways (Long Branch Ave. & Ocean Ave.) that felt long. The boardwalk stretch finishing up the loop was a very windy two mile straightaway along the beach. It could also be windy by Lake Takanasee.

In terms of hilliness, there really isn't any. That's my favorite part about the course. There are some grades, most notably after the right turn on S. Broadway (about mile 6 and mile 19) and the left turn onto Elboron Ave (about mile 10 and 23), but they're quite small compared to NYC marathon hills and bridges.

Running the course gave me a decent sense of familiarity. I decided to take the first loop easy to observe and absorb. As I got away from the ocean breezes and into the residential areas in the second loop, I decided to try and pick it up the last 3-4 miles and see how my body would feel doing at or near marathon pace. At about 19 miles, I felt surprisingly spry even after Saturday's race, working my pace down to 7:23. I took the last mile easy jogging back to Super Runners, but I definitely got what I wanted from this last long training run: course feel and an added boost of confidence.

1 comment:

Simon Lewis said...

Well done on a great run. There is nothing like a good long run before the marathon to fill you with confidence. Especially if its the last 20 miler before taper.