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Thursday, April 26 Sports

The Sports Doctor: Strategies for half marathons

When preparing for a half marathon, the most important thing is to evaluate the weather conditions, especially if it is hot and humid. It is a necessity to be well-hydrated going to the starting line, as it is too late when you get thirsty. Then dehydration is likely to set in and it can be a dangerous enemy.

The first mile will set the tone of your race. Going out too fast can lead to disaster. However, going out

too slowly may hurt all chances for a good time. Given a choice of the two evils, you are better off going

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slowly at the start. You may be caught up in a slow pace if the field is crowded. Speeding up all the way

will give you a better feeling at the finish.

Look for the point on the course to make your moves on the hills, corners and straightaways. Try to

hang the corners on the inside, which will put you ahead of the other runners. A quick pace at this point

will give you the edge as well as a strong psychological gain on your fellow competitors.

If someone passes you, move over into their wake and try to hang on as long as you can. Your times

can't help but improve with this approach, but be careful not to burn up your energy that will cost you

time at the finish.

When there is a headwind, as well as a crosswind, try to get someone else to lead into the wind while

you stay close behind with your head bent down for added resistance.

Always shift your pace and pay attention to the clock while moving ahead of your opponents. Take

advantage of short, downhill sections to pick up speed. Lower your head, which is the heaviest part of

your body, and get on your toes to allow yourself to pick up 20 or 30 yards on your opponents.

The right race strategies will save you energy, and give you a good pace with a good time.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a Sport Podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 & 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials.