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Hello Everyone,

I hope you are in good spirits as you continue your journey towards the 2024 Boston Marathon. With the big day drawing nearer, your upcoming 20+-mile run is a crucial milestone in your training regimen. Proper preparation and execution will be key to ensure you're on track to conquer the marathon course come race day.

Here are some important tips and guidelines to help you prepare for you final long run:

Hydration and Nutrition: Begin hydrating well in advance of this run to ensure your body is adequately hydrated. On the day before, focus on consuming plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Additionally, start fueling your body with complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy for the long run ahead. The final long run is the last 'real' opportunity to test and refine your hydration and fueling plan.

Gear Check: Take some time to review your running gear and ensure everything is in good condition. This includes your shoes, socks, apparel, and any accessories you may use. Avoid trying out new gear on the day of the long run to prevent discomfort or blisters. Remove any internal tags and consider using Body Glide on high abrasion areas like your feet, inner thighs, under your arms, and for women, under the front/bottom of your sports bra.  Weather on April 15th may be quite different than on the day of your run, so that is certainly a variable.

Route Familiarization: Familiarize yourself with the route you'll be taking for the 20+-mile run. Knowing the terrain and any potential challenges will mentally prepare you for what lies ahead. If possible, try to incorporate similar elevation changes and terrain into your training runs leading up to this run. For those who have been able to attend training, we'll be on our typical weekly course. 

Pacing Strategy: Establish a pacing strategy for the 20+ miles. The goal is not to race this distance but to complete it comfortably and efficiently. Aim for a pace that is sustainable for the entire duration of the run, allowing for adjustments as needed based on how you feel during the run.

It is important to be conservative with your pacing for the first 5K.  This initial segment will determine how the remaining miles unfold, just like on Marathon Monday.  Except there will be a significant downhill segment and 30,000+ other runners tempting you to start too fast.

Two nights prior to your run will be your most important night of sleep, so plan according.

Recovery Plan: Plan your post-run recovery in advance. Have a nutritious meal or snack ready to consume immediately after the run to replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery. Consider incorporating light stretching or foam rolling to prevent stiffness and promote flexibility.

Mindset Preparation: Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation. Visualize yourself successfully completing the 20-mile run and envision crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon with strength and determination. Stay positive and focused on your goals throughout the run.

Safety Precautions: Be mindful of traffic, particularly at cross walks and intersections, and other potential hazards along the route. 

Obey traffic laws and avoid running through red lights.  Be cautious of uneven running surfaces, particularly on sidewalks, to avoid falling.

Remember, your final 20+ mile run is not only a test of physical endurance but also a valuable opportunity to fine-tune your marathon preparation. Approach it with determination, but also with respect for your body's limits.

You will conquer this milestone and continue our journey towards the Boston Marathon.

Most runners put a lot of emphasis on this last long run, rightfully so.  However, it's just '1' run.  Don't get too excited if you have a great run or devasted by a challenging run.  The next phase of training, the taper, is a critical stage of training intended to put the final touches on your Boston

Marathon preparation.

I will be providing a follow-up article on The Art of the Taper so you don’t compromise months of hard training by doing too much during this important final phase of training.

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