My friend Adam Lee is a respected Nashville fitness trainer. He’s also a running coach and a marathon veteran who qualified for the Boston Marathon. I asked him to provide you with a Nashville-specific consult.
First Things First Whether you’re running your first race or Nashville returnee, it’s awesome that you’ve prepared yourself for this race. Even getting to this point is a victory. But let me encourage you to temper your expectations.
Registration The Music City Center is a great facility for herding thousands of people through registration. You can pick your registration packet on Thursday, noon-7 pm and Friday, 10 am- 7 pm. Get there as early as possible to avoid long waits.
Fitness Expo Don’t skip it. You’ll find lots of nice freebies and good speakers worth your time.
Weather April in Nashville is totally unpredictable. I’ve run when it was 55 degrees and rained throughout the whole race (it was my best time). Once the race was stopped because of tornado warnings. I’ve also run the course when it was 88 degrees and sunny. Keep in mind that you’ll run about 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. All that to say, watch the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
Humidity Typically Nashville has high humidity and that will take a toll on you. Keep that in mind before you start running and set your pace accordingly.
Hydration With so much humidity, hydrate more than you’re accustomed. Fortunately the course has plenty of water stations along the way. An improvement from previous years, you’ll find Gatorade and/or SiS Gel at almost every water station.
Parking If you’re staying downtown, just walk to the starting line. I’ve parked near Nissan Stadium on the east bank of the Cumberland River and had no trouble finding a space. However, give yourself plenty of time to get to the parking lot because traffic will be congested. From the parking lot, it’s only about a 3/4 mile walk to the starting line. It makes a good warm-up before running. (There are pay lots and limited street parking on the west (downtown) side of the river but beware street closings and detours.). Note: Because the NFL Draft event is occurring simultaneously, you may find more competition for a parking space.
The Course The starting line is downtown a few blocks from the river and most of the first 4.75 miles are essentially a climb. When you approach Belmont University, it levels out and stays that way until you hit the hills in East Nashville at about Mile 20. Pace yourself accordingly. Note: the 5k course has a different starting line than the Full and Half marathon routes.
Support Overall, racer support is very good. Your first hydration station is about two miles in and they’re comfortably spaced along the course. And while you’re running, enjoy an eclectic mix of live music from the stages along the course.
I hope you have a great race and a tremendous experience in Nashville.–Adam
How about more insider information about the St. Jude Rock’n’Roll Marathon?
And here’s the official race page.
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