There are so many different types of marathon courses these days. As some runners get more serious about their training, whether you are going for a PR (personal record) or want to run Boston (the super bowl of marathons) the option to run a downhill marathon comes into play. There are different types of races nowadays that actually specialize in the concept of running DOWNHILL, but will that actually provide you with a faster race time? Here are some pros and cons to signing up for such a race in hopes of achieving PR success.
–Pro- the concept of running a downhill race, in theory, does seem like a sure shot. I mean, you are bombing down a hill (or a mountain) and you WILL be moving faster. For a significant amount of time. Hold onto that for miles and miles at a time and you just may get the time you desire. Definitely work on your downhill running in training, and this concept just may work for you.
–Con- Running downhill for an entire marathon distance (26.2 miles) will do a number on your body. Although it does seem fun, running down a mountain for a significant amount of time IS hard on your body. And you WILL pay for it later. But…it will be fun while it lasts! Just be sure to take care of your body and get rest and recovery soon afterwards.
–Pro- It is definitely something different than your humdrum flat course. I don’t know about you but I actually love and look forward to running hills. To me there is nothing more boring than a pancake flat course, and actually I’ve done better in years past running courses that included more of a decent elevation profile. Take RnR San Diego for instance. Not an easy course by any means and a killer climb on a highway at the very end but something about that course made me want to work harder.
–Con- The downhill marathon does not equal instant success. Don’t expect to roll up on one of these bad boys if you aren’t fully prepared. So many other factors go into these type of races, such as getting acclimated to the atiltiude changes (if you’re a Texan like me- we are not used to the mountainous terrain at all) and what have you. Take it from me, someone who has gotten altitude sickness, that is something you DO NOT want during a race. Here are some good tips to being prepared to face those type of crazy changes.
What are some more pros and cons to downhill marathons? What is your favorite type of race course?
I actually do like looped courses, definitely some hills in there. Point to point ain’t bad either.