"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Running The Tangents While Running With Horses!

Most non-runners have never heard the term “Running the Tangents.”  While even some runners have never really considered the importance of applying this term.  But from experience, I can attest to this step saving, and possibly frustration preventing, practical race strategy.  Taking a few minutes to review the course map and reminding yourself to focus on the twists and turns ahead, can literally shorten your marathon by up to a quarter mile.  How is that possible?  Continue reading.

By definition, Running the Tangents, refers to the shortest possible path that is legally allowed along a measured course.  This is important because the distance of the course is measured by the shortest path, not the center of the road. In pre-GPS days, this was not talked about as often by the average Joe's and Jane's, (of which your author is grouped), but the elites have always planned and paid special attention to the course tangents.  Then with the availability of GPS devices, the complaints of incorrect distances, and / or inaccurate Garmins, were being heard often.  That’s when Tangents 101 became a popular training topic and educational addition to running books, magazines and blogs!

In my marathon this past January, I crossed the line at a distance of 26.36  I believe that to be extremely accurate and a decent attempt at running the tangents.  Unfortunately, the run was at Disney and the first 10 miles were pretty crowded, so I missed quite a few of the early turns.  What I also learned was that in my next marathon I need to set a pace that accounts for at least 26.36 miles, and not to the 26.2, only to find myself missing the goal by another tenth or two.  (Note: A general rule of thumb is that if you pay attention you will add .1 to your half and .2 to your full. It only gets worse from there).

So, from now on when you see one of those vehicle magnets out there with a 26.2 encircled and proudly displayed, as it should be, just consider that it is also WRONG!  No one has ever run a 26.2 marathon.  But we keep trying!


  1. Good advice Dave, be proud of that 26.36,, it's possible you ran your tangent PR in your first marathon. Also, Haircut yet?

  2. Thanks Paul, and I’m working to keep my Friday, pre-Marathon haircut approach going. So tomorrow afternoon, high and tight and ready for flight!