Jono’s School of Running: Tips for Successful Completion of the Peachtree from Someone Who’s Been There, Done That, and Gotten the T-Shirt

beentheredonethatgotthetshirt–First of all, YOU NEED TO TRAIN FOR THIS!!!!!  Do not think that you are just going to roll out of bed on the morning of July 4, show up at the start, and run 6 miles all the way down Peachtree.  If you can pull that off, then I have immense respect for you.  But more than likely, if you attempt this without training properly for it, you will wind up sprawled out all over the pavement after about the first half-mile or thereabouts.

–In order to win the Peachtree, you generally need to be able to run 6 miles in 25 minutes or less.  For the most part, the only people who can do this are from Kenya.  As for the rest of us, your goal is simply to finish the race and get your T-shirt.  If you can accomplish this, then you have had a successful outcome.

–This means don’t do anything stupid which might jeopardize your chances of finishing the race.  Be mindful of the fact that it will more than likely be excruciatingly hot, and pace yourself accordingly.  This year the weather was very nice, but don’t count on that every year as more often than not you will be severely disappointed.  Don’t try to shoot for a personal record; there will be plenty of opportunities for you to do so under more favorable weather conditions.

–Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the race.  Drink lots of water before you leave the house in the morning, and be sure to avail yourself of the water stations which are located throughout the course.  If you are not having to stop and avail yourself of the restroom facilities which are located every mile or thereabouts, then YOU FAIL at keeping yourself hydrated!!!!!

–They tell you to arrive at the start area an hour before your assigned start time.  There’s a reason for this.  It will take you at least that long to get through the line for the restroom facilities at the start area.

–Carbloading:  This is generally a good idea, as your body uses lots of carbohydrates when running long distances.  But don’t do it at Waffle House on the morning of the race, unless you want to wind up sprawled out on the pavement after the first half-mile or thereabouts.

–Cardiac Hill is way overrated.  For those of you who don’t know, Cardiac Hill is the most serious uphill stretch on the course; it starts at Peachtree Creek about 1000 feet south of Peachtree Battle and about 3 miles into the course, and continues for another half-mile until just before Collier Road.  Lots of people will talk about Cardiac Hill as if it is a huge deal; don’t be intimidated by this because it isn’t.  If you struggled with Cardiac Hill this year, then you need to train–a lot–before next year’s Peachtree.  I will be glad to help you with this.

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2 thoughts on “Jono’s School of Running: Tips for Successful Completion of the Peachtree from Someone Who’s Been There, Done That, and Gotten the T-Shirt

  1. Agreed. Cardiac hill is over rated for the trained runners that have spent time training on hills and the heat, which are easy enough to find and incorporate into your running routine. Its the best time to feel like a champion as you wip past the ones that did not train like they needed. The hill is also murder on the later time groups, when the heat is on and the otherwise capable but dehydrated find out they should have stopped for a drink.

    The only other additions I would make is: First, that pacing is very important. You can go for a good race, but you should not waste your effort in trying to speed along in the first miles. It’s way to crowded and your energy is going to be spent going from side to side around people instead of down range. Second, be careful not to train yourself into an injury before the race. Last year I injured my foot and after the race I was hobbled for a month. This year, instead of concentrating on running, I blended upper body cardio, yoga, cross trainers, and running into a pretty intense routine – and even though I was logging less miles per week on the runs, I still did better than last year and am still on my training routine. Third, spend decent time acclimating to heat stress conditions prior to the race. I typically volunteer at a cub scout daycamp (temps 90-100+ for the week) and then go camping somewhere hot. Then try to keep my routine to include lightly running outside in the heat at least a couple of times a week until race day so I do not loose too much of my acclimatization. Good guides are out there – http://www.usariem.army.mil/download/heatacclimatizationguide.pdf. Other than stopping for water every mile like Joe says, its the only option out there. And lastly, have fun! It’s a six mile party, not a race. By the time we start the Kenyan has already won and looped around to get the free samples and tee shirts he or she missed during their 13 mph dash. In fact they probably have looped around twice by the time I start.

    Happy running and cheer me on as you wait for me at the finish line.

  2. My two cents…
    Don’t eat the donuts at the Publix in Buckhead.
    Don’t drink the beers that people might offer you. Canned beer is hard to drink while you run.

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