Have a race plan going into the race: have a sense of the time that you are looking to run and break that down into mile splits.
You should feel pretty good to start (don’t get caught up in the excitement), so don’t try and push the pace too soon. Be very cautious on the initial downhill - you want something left in the tank to climb the hills to get back to the finish.
You should use the first couple of miles along the Arborway to get a sense of your pace and settle into a rhythm.
By the time you reach Jamaica Pond, you should be feeling reasonably comfortable.
Miles 4 - 7
There are some long downhill sections on the Riverway - again, be careful not to push the pace.
Use the stretch between the 4 and 6 mile marks to settle into your goal race pace.
The turn-around point is at the 4.75-mile mark.
If you are running around 6 minute pace, you are likely to see the lead men’s pack heading back just after you pass the 4-mile mark.
As you make the turn at 4.75 miles, you will see the race participants heading out to the turn-around for the next mile before the course turns off of the Riverway onto Pond Ave.
Once you turn onto Pond Ave., you have about a half mile before the 10K.
Use your 10K time to see where you are in relation to your goal pace.
As you return along the flat stretch adjacent to Jamaica Pond and the Jamaica Way, this is a good time to assess how you are feeling. If you are feeling good, you may want to pick up your pace slightly; if you are not feeling great, you may have to back off a bit.
Miles 8 - 9
As you make your way past the Arnold Arboretum, stay relaxed, maintain a steady pace, and begin to mentally prepare for the climb into the zoo.
This is the part of the race that may start to become hard - especially if this is your first time racing over 10K.
Maintaining your mental focus may be a challenge here - as you did on the way out, try to settle into a steady rhythm - cruise control!
As you approach the 8-mile mark, you will rejoin the course heading back from the 2-mile mark to the 1-mile mark.
Miles 10 - 12
You will enter Franklin Park and have a quarter-mile climb.
Take a right, just past the Shattuck Hospital onto Circuit Drive. This part of the course is relatively flat with a turn-around just past the 10-mile mark. You will see other runners heading toward you as they approach the 11-mile split.
As you reach the 11-mile mark, bear right onto Circuit Drive. There is a half-mile hill as you climb toward the zoo.
Your splits will slow down on the hill.
Good hill running technique: relax, shorten your stride, lean slightly into the hill, don’t try and sprint. A good goal is to try and maintain your place - don’t worry about the mile split.
Just before the 12-mile mark, you will be directed onto a footpath that parallels Circuit Drive. Be aware of the sharp turns to get onto this path.
Just past the 12-mile mark, you will make a left turn, heading towards the zoo gate entrance
You will have a few zigs and zags as you navigate a relatively straight shot up through the zoo.
The Final Mile
You are almost home!
As you exit the zoo, you have about a half-mile to go - too soon for that final sprint, but you can start to really pick it up. You have less than 5 minutes to race!
You will hear the cheers at the finish line as you circle past White Stadium.
You will enter the Stadium at the 13-mile mark - .1 to go! Time to bring it home and then you can relish your accomplishment - and enjoy the post-race festivities!