Wednesday, October 3, 2012

St. George Marathon Advice

(Side Note: Me and friends are meeting at the third fire from the back on the left side at the starting line if you want to come and hang out and say hello.)

I've had some people ask to re-post some advice on the St. George Marathon coming up on Saturday. Here are some of the lessons I've learned from running the race and training on the course:

1) Bring some warm clothes to wear while you wait at the starting line. It can be COLD up there. (If it's not cold, 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?


  1. Looks like a super event! This is great advice for anyone going to run it. All the best and have fun!

  2. Oh, I want to run this one someday so badly! Great advice!

  3. Love the advice. I totally did it wrong last year, my first half was way faster than my second. Actually the whole race was a disaster.

    Do you know if the pace teams run even splits or if they have a course specific plan? I'm going to try and hop onto a pace team this year, it's my only hope to make my goal since I only decide to race it earlier this week when I found out the Boston Marathon hasn't filled yet. I'm really not trained for a marathon at all.

    That may be my favorite marathon sign I've ever seen from the mortuary!

  4. Great tips....if only I had listenned to them last year. I don't think I can ever run that race ever again after last years crisis of events.

    Have a good race Cory and most importantly get a lot of jumping pictures and have fun. :)

  5. Awesome tips. And I think this is the marathon that your photo was used as the race poster? This is one of the few marathons out there that I hope to do sometime in the future, just seems like an awesome race. Enjoy it!

  6. I really wish I was down there running SGM. I'd be fun to meet you in person too! #3 is the best tip in my opinion... after I got up Veyo I thought it was going to be straight downward running so the mini 'rollers' -if you could call them that- really got to me mentally.

    Have a great race this weekend!

  7. Don't get defeated by the hill at about mile 18, the underpass. It gets me mentally almost every time. I will be extra slow this year, 5 months post baby, so your tips on relaxing and taking things slow will be extra important for me to remember.
    In response to Amy, I'm pretty sure the Cliff pacers try to run an even pace throughout the race. That got my brother in trouble. He was trained to run a 3:10 but pushed way too hard on Veyo and crashed towards the end of the race. I would ask the pacer his/her specific plan.

  8. love that course. many years ago paced a friend to a PR there. Never forget the views!

  9. Thank you for the advice - I have 2 friends running and I have passed this along to them. Someday, I will make it back to Utah for this race. Best of luck tomorrow!

  10. Great advice! I think I might run this one day, and I will have to refer back to this baby!