This critical month gets runners ready for the long haul
Are you gearing up for a marathon this year? May is the pivotal month for the final tune-up for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon, set for June 17. Need a little more time? Cordova’s King Salmon Marathon, July 15, is a less crowded venue boasting small-town charm. Or you might want to wait until August, when you’ve a summer’s worth of training under your belt. Humpy’s Alehouse has returned to sponsor the Anchorage Running Club’s marathon as part of the Anchorage RunFest, and the race takes place Aug 20.
There are still two more choices in September to test yourself at the marathon distance – one a doozie and another a PR-magnet. The Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks is set for Sept. 16 (that’s the doozie) and the Kenai River Marathon takes place Sept. 24. The generally flat course is a great route for those seeking a new personal best time.
Experienced runners, and those who have trained consistently throughout the winter, likely will be planning two final long runs of 18 to 21 miles leading up to a June or July race. Use those runs to familiarize yourself with the course and practice your race-day nutrition and hydration plan. Being able to visualize the second half of the course will improve your chances of reaching the finish line in the goal time that you are targeting. This is easier to accomplish on the Mayor’s Marathon course, as the Cordova route is more of an adventure run.
Novice and experienced runners targeting a late-summer or early-fall marathon will use May to build a strong base and increase speed with some longer intervals such as repeat miles or two-milers. Or try timed efforts at 10 to 15 minutes at a higher intensity than conversation pace or 80 percent to 85 percent effort. Consider joining a running team to improve your skills and keep your motivation high by running with like-minded souls.
Who knows? One or more of those runners is probably training for the same event and can share advice. Each of these events has a unique flavor, and family and friends can also run or volunteer at a variety of distances to add to the camaraderie. All are community driven and can legitimately claim to be a destination race.
Make May your month to commit to one of these events at any pace. It will take training to get to the finish line but you will be forever changed whether you run or walk it.
— Keep Striding and Smiling,