Tuesday, September 6, 2011

St. George Marathon Course - My Advice

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?

21 comments:

  1. I'd love to run that marathon! The ice cream sounds like the perfect recovery MEAL!

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  2. ahhhhh!!! love this post...I am getting so excited but so anxious for st. george! this was a great post idea and some great tips! can't wait!!!

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  3. sounds lovely...in a difficult way..think I'll add this one to my "to do" list :)

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  4. Seriously thank you so much!! This is so helpful. I cannot believe Veyo hill is an entire mile. Wow I might die.

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  5. Great breakdown! I have looked into running St. George, it sounds like a great marathon. Hopefully sometime in the future I'll be able to do it.

    This video of St. George is one of my favorite running videos out there:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWwKrjgSsrg

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  6. Never ran it and probably never will. I'm doing good to keep up with half marathons. I've been reading your blog for a few weeks and enjoying it. Thanks for allowing me to. I'll be back:)

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  7. Excellent advice Cory. Let's hope its cooler this year. Veyo was not my problem last year, it was the 4miles of gradual uphill that killed me!

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  8. I might cry. I'm not running it this year...:( See you at the finish line though!

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  9. I ran 18 on course 2 weeks ago (running 20 with the running center this Saturday on course) and the Veyo hill didn't bother me it was the next 5 miles of rolling hills that made me want to scream. This might have been because I started at the Veyo hill and ran it right from the start that might change when i hit it 7 miles in.

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  10. Caught Rachelle's comment and I'm laughing that "she might die" on Veyo. Not gonna happen. Remember how she ran UP Hobble Creek Canyon of 7 miles. Seriously. Plus, I don't think it's possible for machines to die. Is it?

    GREAT POST. Part of me still wishes I was doing St. George. It must be the "cool thing to do" or something. TOU or die, right??!!!! Your pictures are so awesome.

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  11. Wow, how beautiful is that race! I will have to do it someday. Meanwhile, though, there's Top of Utah...

    I took some jumping photos over the weekend--they're on my Labor Day post. Let's hope I run TOU better than I jump (my kids are pretty good though).

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  12. I did StG in 2008, the 2nd time in 33 years it rained. Fine with me, it kept the temps down, which was what I was fearful of...but at the end, it was one madhouse to get the sweatbags; those little stickers with your name on them completely wore off in the rain. What a nightmare. I suggest to all to write your name in a Sharpie on the outside, in the off-chance it rains again.

    StG was my first BQ and it hold so so soo many special memories...I'm not sure I could run it again for fear I'd run it poorly and thus squash my first time's memories to nothing. But I'd never say never...

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  13. This was a really great recap for anyone on this course!! I have looked at it before, but this is great!

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  14. The course looks gorgeous. I have family in Salt Lake and friends in Moab. I am going to have to give some serious consideration to running this as part of my next visit.

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  15. I am really looking forward to it...I had planned on it being a PR and a BQ but bursitis in both ankles put that dream to bed. I had to take two months off (it was pretty bad) but ice and Advil have me back out there, now running StG for the great experience that I've heard it is. Thanks for the recap and advice on the course.

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  16. 2012 is #9 for me - next year gets me into the 10 year club!! I have run a bunch of PR's @ SGM but only negative split once - in 2004 on the old course which stayed on Bluff St. to 300 South before turning east for the last mile (almost).(3:46:17)

    Fastest on the current course was in that brutal heat of 2010. (3:53:14) Run even effort not even pace.

    In the past I have run a 14-15 miler from the storage units @ Veyo to the just past the Diamond Valley turn off and back in July (early morning), but was unable to make it down from SLC this year. I do some runs that help with the downhill including one that drops over 4000 feet in 10.5 miles and over 5000 feet in 18.4x miles. I find it helps me. I only do it once though as it can really beat you up.

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  17. These are great tips! I am pretty excited to run it this year. My goal right now is to simply get to the cut off and then coast from there. I'm just praying that it's not too hot!

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  18. Thanks for the advice Cory. I enjoy reading your blog. I would love to meet you at the start, but I know what a mad house it is. Probably won't see you though, I'll be in the back in my bare feet hoping to make the cut off and I know you are getting "fast". Great pictures, saves me from carrying a camera, I'll just steal them off of your blog. JK. Have a great race, it's going to be hard waiting another 3 weeks.

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  19. THANKS!!!!!! the video was awesome... Thanks for the advice... That's the same advice I've read about Veyo in many other places... take it easy. I ran Big Sur last April and did the same while climbing Hurricane Point. Don't try to be a hero. Problem there was the high winds we had this year... worst in last 10 years. I will go to STG respecting Veyo up to mile 13, and then let the fun begin....

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  20. Thanks for the tips! I'm running the St.George Marathon this year. I'll keep in mind that 14 is the magic number! My tip for traveler's: reserve the hotel room ASAP! Your photos are great and congrats on finishing this race 3 times, so far!

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