Top Tips from Boston Marathon Legends

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

Thirty years after battling the final miles of the most grueling and unforgettable of the 115 Boston Marathons—the 1982 race known as the “Duel in the Sun”—winner Alberto Salazar and second-place finisher Dick Beardsley offered some tips to today’s runner’s facing unseasonable temperatures in Boston. Use them anytime you’re racing in the heat for a safer run:

  • Run for fun. Don’t go out too fast, a common mistake especially for musclemorphosis.com runners faced with the course’s temping early downhills. “Go with the mindset that you’re here to enjoy the race. Take it in. This is Boston! said Beardsley, who finished just 2 seconds behind Salazar in ’82. The men were speaking at launch event for Salazar’s autobiography 14 Minutes, published by Rodale and Runner’s World magazine yesterday at The Boston Pubic Library. Due to the heat, expected in mid 80s, Salazar recommended dialing back pace expectations, adding 10 or more minutes to expected times for most runners. (musclemorphosis.com.)
  • Drink often. Take advantage of the water stations. In ’82, spectators would hand cups of water to the runners, sometimes running alongside them. “I think I only had 2 sips of water,” Salazar recalls. It was as 72 degrees in 1982. “We had the wind in our faces, so you didn’t really feel the heat and think to drink. Today, we know ‘drink before you feel thirsty.’”
  • Pound your quads. The quadriceps muscles tend to tighten up when there are early downhills in a race like Boston. To prepare, practice running up hill slowly and then concentrating on your running form to keep your legs in control as you descend, said Beardsley. Beardsley also offered his signature quad toughener: “I would sit at the edge of a chair and pound my quads with my fists 2,000 times a day.”
  • Read your body. Salazar said Beardsley pushed him harder than anyone ever pushed him in any other race. After crossing the finish line in 1982 Salazar was ushered into the medical tent; there EMTs pumped six bags of saline fluid into his dehydrated body, which the attending physician described as “like a potato chip.” Salazar said that pushing his body to the limit during his running career likely contributed to the heart attack he suffered in 2007 on a practice field at Nike’s Oregon campus. Salazar was clinically dead for 14 minutes, longer than a human is normally expected to survive without a pulse. It took 10 shocks with defibrillator paddles until his heart started beating regularly again. “I was lucky,” said Salazar. The doctors believe his extreme cardiovascular conditioning allowed his heart to withstand the trauma. “They told me my arteries were so big, like garden hoses,” he said.

To learn more about Salazar’s miraculous life and death and life again, musclemorphosis.com.

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