The tough aspect of running in these events is not so much the distance, but rather the short recovery time between the runs. Added to that is the fact that most runners will run too fast, especially in their first leg, which means they will be especially tired going into their second or third runs.
Let me provide some tips that will help runners prepare for an event like Hood to Coast and then also add some practical tips for the race itself.
Most runners mistakenly believe that they need to focus on the total distance of their legs as an endurance target in preparing for a race like Hood to Coast. For example, the thinking might be that if a runner needs to run a combined 18 miles (6 miles x 3) they should really get in at least an 18 miler prior to the event. While that endurance base might be helpful, what is really more important is to run a fair amount of mileage at your target race pace and focus on running that pace for a distance slightly longer than the longest of your race legs. So if you’re running a 4, a 5 and an 6 mile leg, then you want to be able to comfortably cover 7 or 8 miles at your race pace.
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