A few people have asked for my advice on the St. George Marathon course. I am by no means an expert on this course but I have run the marathon twice (#3 less than a month away) and have trained on the course many times. Here is what I've learned (and a picture from each lesson):
1) Bring some warm clothes to wear while you wait at the starting line. It can be COLD up there. (If it's like last year when it wasn't cold at the starting line, you know you're in trouble. Prepare for skin-melting heat a few hours later.) Lots of fires help keep you warm.
2) Take it EASY on the Veyo Hill. At mile 7 you reach the hardest part of the course: the Veyo Hill which is about a mile. I've made the mistake to trying to keep an even pace going up the hill and by the time I reach the top I'm fried. Slow down and relax so you can keep your energy for later in the race.
3) Don't think it gets easy after the Veyo Hill. After you reach the top of the hill, there are still a few miles of gradual incline. Mentally this section is challenging because you worry about your pace slowing down. Again - don't panic. Downhill will be coming soon.
4) In the Beginners Clinic at the expo (highly recommended!), Terry Tucker says that if you don't get a negative split (running the second half of the race faster than the first), you have done something dramatically wrong. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I talked to him a few days ago at church and he recommended trying to do the first half around 4-5 minutes slower.
5) 14 is the magic number. Get to Mile 14 and then you're in business. This is when the downhill really starts and you can get down to business. Soon you reach Snow Canyon which is probably the most beautiful section of a marathon I have ever run.
6) Save a little energy for the last two miles. The steep downhills are done and the last few miles are fairly level through neighborhoods. Your quads are screaming by this time so you want to keep a little gas in the tank so you don't have to do the marathon death shuffle as the crowd cheers "You're almost there!" (I perfected the marathon death shuffle my first year.)
7) Take whatever steps are necessary to avoid nausea so that when you reach the finish line you can replace every calorie you just burned by eating face-fulls of Blue Bunny Ice Cream. It is so good that it makes your eyes go buggy. Here's the proof:
Here is an excellent course video that I was able to be a part of. You can hear my voice saying things like "Running is the stupidest hobby ever."
Have you run the St. George Marathon before? Any tips you'd like to add?