Seven Tips to Run Your BEST Falmouth Road Race
The Falmouth Road Race is like the little sister to the Boston Marathon. Each prestigious New England race’s in their own right that draw both world class athletes and throngs of runners with lots of heart. Each are difficult courses with lots of hills, lots of fans, and lots of extreme weather. Each race is hard to get into, and each is tough to train for.
While the toughest part of the The Falmouth Road Race might be getting a bib number, now that you have your entry form, how do you train for such an odd distance? 7 miles, not quite a half marathon but further than a 10k!!
I’ve been running the Falmouth Road Race since I was 12 years old. I know it intimately and absolutely love the corky course. I’ve combined my wisdom from over two decades of racing it, and ten years of coaching people to run it to come up with the following tips to help you run your BEST race EVER.
1. LINE UP YOUR CHEERLEADERS
With elite runners a plenty, gorgeous ocean vistas and a beach next to the finish line,
Falmouth is a great race for spectators. Just make sure you know EXACTLY where
you’ll meet at the finish. Pick a place and then have everybody stay there until you
reunite. Falmouth places letter signs at the park to help with this or some folks carry
a huge balloon bouquet to show where they are. (Why is this important? Phone
batteries seem to die at races).
2. EAT TO WIN
When training for a big race your digestive system needs to be in tip-top shape just
like your leg muscles. To do this, you must practice eating breakfast before your
long runs. To start, even milk in your coffee is better than nothing. The goal is to
learn how long you need to digest food before running, which foods work for you
and which do not! Run as many of your long runs at the same time as your corral
goes off on race day eating as you would on race day. In this way, the body is used to
the routine and there are no surprises.
3. EMBRACE HILLS
Hills are only as scary as you make them out to be! If you train on lots of hills they
become easier physically but also mentally. Seeing the Falmouth course has rolling
hills in the beginning and then a few sharp inclines right at the end, it is paramount
that you regularly train on hills to prepare for this race. Instead of avoiding the hilly
routes while training, embrace them.
4. TURN AND BURN
Make sure you are efficient with your energy and always run tangents. There are a
lot of tight turns along the Falmouth course, especially in the harbor. To ensure you
run the shortest distance follow a straight line from the inside corner to inside
corner (using the full road if need be). Don’t snake your way along like the yellow
centerline. Ride out the momentum you get from the turn and pick up speed. Bottom
line, a little awareness of the course can be very beneficial to your final time.
5. BEAT THE HEAT
This race tends to be HOT. The last several miles are run along the beach where the
sun beats down on you. Therefore, plan to run some of your training runs in the heat
of the day so your body gets accustomed to these conditions and you learn how
much water you need, what clothes work best, hats, sunscreen, etc.
6. GET READY TO GO
Prepare to be at the race early in order to catch a bus to the start of the race. Who
wants the stress of missing the bus anyway? Then make sure you have a plan so that
the pre-race fear doesn’t set in. Try getting your blood pumping, not only will this
help you ease into an ideal pace it will also help calm pre-race jitters. Take
advantage of the free group stretch, jog over to it, follow the guided stretch, and jog
back toward the start to line up in your proper corral.
7. VISUALIZE YOUR SUCCESS
Many folks find it helpful to drive the course in advance to get a mental picture of
the course. Note your surroundings at the start, the end and anywhere in between.
Pick where family and friends should cheer you on. Then replay the route in your
head. Visualize yourself cruising along effortlessly, enjoying the process, taking in
the sights, clapping for the bands along the way, and have your BEST Falmouth
Road Race yet!