Local runners will kick off their training for the 43rd MetroPCS Dallas Marathon while celebrating the race’s history at the Kickoff 6.4K presented by Miller 64 on Thursday, May 31, at the Bath House Cultural Center at 7 p.m. Registration for the marathon, formerly known as the Dallas White Rock Marathon, will open Friday, June 1.
“The marathon course goes right by the Bath House,” Marathon Executive Director Marcus Grunewald said. “We don’t want people to lose sight of the past. It’s always been our mission to put on a good race.”
In 1971, the Bath House served as the first venue for the marathon. Each year since then, thousands of marathoners have crossed the finish line of the Dallas Marathon. Grunewald says experienced marathoners will appreciate the marathon’s relatively flat course and, usually, mild temperatures. While the typical overnight lows for race day is around 35 degrees and the mid-afternoon high is usually around 58 degrees, local runners will remember last year’s chilly race conditions.
“Last year we had one of the worst weather days that we can remember, with a cold rain all day long. We are due for a streak of good weather after last year.” says Grunewald.
Grunewald, who is also a running coach certified by the Road Runners Club of America, says that most successful marathon training programs begin six to eight months prior to race day, so it’s time for runners to start preparing for this year’s Dallas Marathon, which is scheduled for December 9. Grunewald says that marathon runners should expect to run at least four days each week, with runs getting progressively longer as race day gets closer.
“Including the time from when you begin your run to the time you end it, a week with 30 miles could average between six to nine hours. The good news is that if you get in with a good group of like-minded people training for the same race, these hours could become some of the most precious time of your week.”
Along with finding a good, supportive running group to help you train, Grunewald suggests looking for opportunities to fit runs into your daily routine. Some runners find getting up an hour earlier to run works best, while others prefer taking a mid-day break and running during the lunch hour or going for a post-work run.
“Given the busy schedules that most Americans have these days, incorporating running into real life happens on a case-by-case basis. There is no right or wrong way, but the key to success is to be as consistent as possible with your running.”
Kicking off a marathon training program in June in Dallas unfortunately means lots of running in high temperatures. Grunewald suggests that runners should look for shady training routes, stay very aware of their body temperature and pulse, and stay hydrated to the point of using the bathroom about once per hour leading up to running.
“The most important tip is to start off easy and slowly adapt to the heat over a period of days and weeks. Plan on running 15 to 25 percent slower in the heat than in nice weather. If possible always run with a partner, or at minimum make sure someone knows you are out running and when to expect you back from your run.”
Inspired to run your first marathon? Or to simply start running? Grunewald says that while it is possible to go from “couch-to-marathon,” it is not recommended for most. He suggests that beginning runners get a physical before starting any exercise program and seek advice and support from local running clubs, running coaches, or training groups. Then new runners should take the time to build up a solid mileage base and experience running shorter race distances. The Dallas Marathon weekend features a half marathon race, five-person relay race, and the Mayor’s Race 5K, which provide opportunities for runners of all levels to participate.
For more information on registration and MetroPCS Dallas Marathon events, visit www.dallasmarathon.com.