How the Boston Marathon Messes With Runners to Slow Them Down

The Boston Marathon course looks like it should be fast. You start out in the distant suburb of Hopkinton—elevation 490 feet above sea level—and then cruise steadily downhill until about mile 9. The finish line has an elevation of a mere 10 feet above Boston Harbor. Fans pack the sides cheering you on. The route is pretty straight, west to east, with few 90-degree turns of the sort that slow your momentum. The road is asphalt, which is more forgiving than concrete. So when the gun goes off Monday morning for the 123rd running of the race, everyone should feel good about hitting a personal best, right? Of course not. As every veteran marathon runner knows, Boston is slow, wicked, …

Prep for Your Toughest Races Like a Master Marathoner

On Wednesday, I spoke with Mebrahtom Keflezighi, perhaps the most successful American marathoner of all time. He won the New York City marathon in 2009 and the Boston Marathon in 2014. He won an Olympic silver medal and was internationally competitive until the age of 42, in a sport where people tend to peak much younger than that. On Monday, he will be the grand marshall of the Boston Marathon. Keflezighi possesses a wealth of running wisdom, much of which he shares in his book 26 Marathons. We spoke mainly about the science of running fast in difficult conditions and about how to keep a career going as one ages. Nicholas Thompson: As someone who ran lots of difficult courses …