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What should you expect on the new Austin Marathon course? We asked a coach

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Here’s my hot tip for the upcoming Austin Marathon: Bank time and energy.

I just got back from previewing the new route with Chris McClung, an elite runner, coach and co-owner of Rogue Running.

We spent an hour and a half driving the route, which for the first time in years ventures into East Austin and wraps with a brutal uphill climb up 11th Street, just a few blocks from the finish on Congress Avenue.

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I’ll detail his specific tips in an upcoming Fit City column, but in a nutshell, here’s his advice: Don’t get overzealous early, even if you feel good,. Let those hills slow you down, go slower than your target pace and don’t worry if people pass you in the first 18 or so miles.

If you’ve done it right, you’ll have energy to take advantage of the flats near the end, and build some speed toward the finish – saving a little bit for the last climb up 11th Street.

“You may not run your fastest race in Austin, but you can run your greatest race,” McClung says. “This course requires execution. In Austin, unless you run each section as you should, it’s going to chew you up and spit you out.”

McClung will give a course strategy talk for runners tackling the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Rogue Running, 410 Pressler Street.