JACKRABBIT ATHLETES: BOSTON MARATHON CHECK-IN
PART 2: TRAINING UPDATES AND GETTING RACE-READY
The Boston Marathon, one of the world’s oldest and biggest races, is a month away. To get ready for the race, we’ve been following two JackRabbit athletes: Jorge Almeida and Kelli Christensen as they amp up their training and hone in their focus in anticipation of the big day.
We check in with our athletes today to see how their training has been progressing, what surpises may have occured, and how they are preparing for the trip. Read Part 1 of our interview here.
JackRabbit: Welcome back Jorge and Kelli! With the race a month out, we hope you’re not feeling too beat up at this point. Speaking of which, how is training going? Are you feeling fast?
Jorge Almeida: My training hasn’t been the best it could be… Reason being, it has been difficult to fit in long runs with some weather challenges I’ve had, now that I’m living in New York City. I was scheduled to do a long run last weekend, but a snow storm hit the city, canceling a bunch of flights, and limiting me to run on a treadmill… Not optimal, by any means, for more than 10 mile runs.
Kelli Christensen: Training is going well. Some days I feel fast, other days a bit more sluggish, but am doing the work and trusting my plan.
Have you had any surprises in your training or are things progressing as expected?
Weather has been an unexpected challenge, which has made me feel like I’m not progressing as much as I should be. In comparison to other races, where I was motivated to run my fastest time in order to BQ (Boston Qual), for the actual running of Boston, I don’t feel as much pressure to perform which is a relief. But of course, my performance is personal, and I want to still run a good time!
No surprises in my training, but am finding that I’m enjoying early morning track workouts!
What has been the biggest challenge in sticking to your training schedule?
Training for a marathon in a city like New York is very different in comparison to running in a more runner-friendly city like Dallas, that has more places to do long runs. As an example, Manhattan is truly a small territory from west-to-east, so one has to run along the water. You only cover a couple miles at the most, meaning I have to run back and forth a lot to hit longer, 16+ mile runs.
Having enough time is always a challenge, but I’ve made a point not to miss any of my run workouts. If life gets in the way, I try to limit it to one missed cross training workout in a week.
What adjustments will you be making in the final month of preparation?
As I get closer to the day, I will actually be going to Boston to visit family, so I hope to go to the starting point (a town called Hopkinton), and want to run the first couple of miles, to get used to the elevation, terrain, and such. I also plan to do my longer run about 3 weeks ago before I taper off just to make sure I’ll have enough juice at the end of the race to finish strong!
I struggle with pacing, especially on long runs, so I’m working on consistency – slowing down during the early miles so I have something left to get me to the finish. I hear Boston is tricky because the first part of the race is downhill and then you hit the hills around mile 17, culminating with the infamous Heartbreak Hill at mile 21. I sure hope training at altitude and my hill repeats will help me tackle that hill head-on!
How are you staying motivated?
Not to be cheesy, but the vision of me finishing the last mile on Boylston street, which is such an iconic street, is really keeping me motivated. I also expect to have a lot of family and friends in town for the race, so I think of them as I train, as a way of reminding me why I do this!
I really want to enjoy this once in a life time experience, so I’m committed to doing the work to make sure I’m ready.
The mild winter we’re having here in Denver helps too!
What top 3 songs are keeping you moving?
Migos – Stir Fry, Drake – God’s Plan, Juan Magan – Le Encanta
What is your nutrition plan for the race?
Still trying to figure out my pre-race nutrition as I’ll have a few hours between catching the shuttle to Hopkinton and when my wave starts. During the marathon I will use GU – vanilla bean and salted caramel. If the weather is going to be hot like last year’s race, I will carry a small bottle of Skratch. The lemons and lime flavor is my favorite.
Boston weather in April can be fickle… what are you planning on wearing?
The key tip my extreme marathoner Dad give me a while back (he has run over 100 marathons in his lifespan), is to always dress like it’s 10-15 degrees less than it really is. So if it’s cold, like it will be in Boston, I plan to wear layers at the beginning, such as light sweaters that I can easily take off as the race progresses. I will probably wear a long sleeve shirt as I can always pull up my sleeves if I get hot. Depending on truly how cold it is, I might have long pants or if it’s not that cold, shorts it is!
I’m not sure yet. If the weather’s nice – I like to run in a tank top and running skirt.
What is your packing list for the trip?
All of my nutrition, sunglasses for the race, hats, my SPYBELT (which is an essential for long distance runners as it holds multiple items like GU’s and electrolyte pills), shirts for after the race, etc.
Two pairs of shoes and every combination of running wear I own just in case Mother Nature has some surprises in store for us.
Pre-race meal? Post-race drink?
I always drink a protein shake when I wake up before the race along with energy chews as I get closer to race time. Post-race, I will of course refresh myself with some crispy suds, such as Michelob Ultra, which is a great post-race beer.
It may sound funny, but I like a burger and a beer the night before a race. Some of my best race experiences have been after I’ve had that pre-race meal, so I guess it works! I drink Skratch recovery or chocolate milk immediately after a race. After a shower and food, I’m all about red wine.
Any other comments for now?
I heard people make signs for Marathon Monday, so I hope someone will make a sign with my name on it!
We’ll certainly be cheering for each of you from the sidelines. Best of luck to both of you in your last few weeks of training, and we wish you speed and fun on race day. We’ll be looking forward to catching up with y’all after the race to hear how the big day went!
SHOP BOSTON GEAR
BREAK RECORDS WITH ADIDAS ADIZERO SUB2