Los Angeles Hotels Blog

March 24, 2010

Preparing for the Los Angeles Marathon

Inspired by the successful 1984 Summer Olympics, the Los Angeles Marathon was started in 1986. Its course and dates have changed over the years, but it is an increasingly popular race, widely viewed on television. This year, the race will be run on May 25th and will start at Universal Studios in Hollywood and end in downtown LA at 5th and Flower Street. The course this year will go through diverse neighborhoods, including East LA (a cause of some debate). Opponents of the new route argue that East LA is not the prettiest part of town, but supporters advocate having a race that shows the entire city, not just some of it. Certainly, there will be famous sights on the route including the Hollywood Bowl, the Coliseum, Sunset Boulevard, and Hollywood Boulevard’s “Walk of Fame.” The most beautiful view for runners will be when they cross over the 6th Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River. Water stands, misters, entertainment centers and over one million spectators will encourage the runners.

Preparing for the Los Angeles Marathon is similar to preparing for most marathons with a few special conditions to consider. Certainly, training for a marathon months in advance is necessary. Running over both long and short distances helps to strengthen endurance and speed. Having proper running shoes is essential. Going to sports clinics where running style is evaluated can be helpful in eliminating any gait problems that could cause injury.

Maps of the course are available on the internet and should be studied. The course is a combination of flat runs and hills. Your practice schedule should try to duplicate the topography of the course so that you will know how to pace yourself. Since Los Angeles is at sea level, training at higher altitudes can give you an added edge as the run will be easier for you than for those who have only trained at sea level.

The week before the race you should get as much sleep at night as possible. Most runners believe in “carbing up” the day before a race by eating meals high in carbohydrates. You will also want to hydrate yourself well, including the morning of the race. Eat a meal of carbohydrates two to three hours before the start of the race. Do NOT eat anything that would upset your stomach.

There are two special circumstances for running the L.A. Marathon. One is the May date. May in L.A. can be 100 or it can be 65 depending upon the degree of pre “June Gloom” that moves in from the ocean. Late May and June can be very foggy months good for the coolness the vapor provides but bad for the degree to which it concentrates the smog. There is no way to train for running in smog other than to stay out of it for as long as possible. Just as inhaling smoke doesn’t make a fire fighter better able to tolerate it, inhaling smog will not make your lungs less irritated by it. Instead, train somewhere else in cleaner air. Hydrate yourself well especially on race day so that your throat will stay moist. Unless it is a really bad smog day, you probably won’t even notice it.

While I have never run in the Los Angeles Marathon, I grew up in L.A. and I know the route well. It’s one that takes in both the history and unique beauty of Los Angeles. Go ahead and be excited you should be this will be a run to remember!

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