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Run the Tangent: Fastest Way to the Austin Marathon Finish Line

Complete the shortest distance possible when you run the tangent

You’re at the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon start line. The start line gong is struck. You cross the start line and begin chasing your goals. But what’s the quickest way to one of those goals: the finish line? Run the shortest distance possible aka run the tangent! You won’t run any further than you have to when you run the tangent. Learn what it means to run the tangent and utilize our tips. BONUS: run the tangent and you’ll get to the 3-block-long finish line festival that much faster!

What is tangent? Oxford Dictionary defines tangent as “a straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point.” Most road courses are created with turns and curves along the way in order to get to the proper distance. When we are running, our natural tendency is to follow the natural curve of the road. There is a shorter way: run the tangent!

The shortest distance between two points

The Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon courses are USATF-certified. That means the Austin Marathon is exactly 26.2 miles. The Austin Half Marathon is exactly 13.1 miles. When the course is certified by the USA Track & Field, the course measurers are instructed to measure the shortest course possible. What does this mean? The measurer will measure the course using the straightest line possible. That person will run the tangent. As the saying goes, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The diagram below from the USATF Course Measure Manual illustrates this point.

Infographic informing runners how to run the tangent during the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon and what it means.

So it would make sense that we should run the same course that the course measurer measured. On your next training run, try to run the tangent by looking ahead to the next curve. Visualize the straightest possible path by following the inside of the curve. If you want to add distance to your run, do the opposite, follow the outside of the curve.

Race day tips

  • Study the course map and become familiar with the turns and curves on the course
  • Look ahead to the next turn or curve, run the straightest path to the inside of the turn or curve
  • Have fun! 

Fun thing to try: after your next track workout, count the number of steps it takes you to walk one lap of the track at the inside, middle, outside lanes. Which route is the shortest?

Free 5K Training Plan for Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K

FREE 12-week 5K training plan to get you ready for Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K

Professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews constructed a free 5K training plan for 2020. Don’t worry, the plan will still get you ready for the 2021 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K benefiting Paramount Theatre on February 14th! Whether you’re new to running or returning from a lengthy absence, download this free 12-week 5K training plan and toe the start line with confidence. Barny is the coach of Heather Lieberg, 2019 Austin Marathon female champ (2:42:27) and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.

Are you running the Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon? Download Barny’s free marathon or half marathon training plan today!

Train for your 5K with a pro

Barny is a world-class triathlete, winning or placing at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished second in his home country with a time of 8:02:14. He ran the marathon portion of the triathlon (final portion) in 2:44:09! During the marathon, Barny averaged 6:26 min/mile after swimming 2.4 miles and cycling 112 miles! His coaching style provides athletes with a blend of training knowledge he’s learned first-hand. Barny also includes lessons he’s been taught from other world-class runners and triathletes. Barny lives in Austin, but coaches athletes around the world.

This downloadable plan is geared for runners who’ve just discovered running or are returning from a lengthy absence. You can customize this training plan yourself by adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

Pro tip: when you have a rest day, take it!

Take your training to the next level and contact Matthews today for personalized coaching. Make sure you ask for his special Austin Marathon coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email to download the KXAN Simple Health 5K training plan!

Free 5K training plan for the month of November, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free 5K training plan for the month of December, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free 5K training plan for the month of January, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free 5K training plan for the month of February, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free Half Marathon Training Plan for 2020 Austin Half Marathon

FREE 12-week, 13.1-mile training plan to get you ready for Austin Half Marathon

Professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews constructed a free 12-week half marathon training plan for 2020. Don’t worry, the plan will still get you ready for the 2021 Ascension Seton Austin Half Marathon presented by Under Armour on February 14th! Whether you want to set a new PR or complete your first half marathon, download this 13.1-mile training plan and toe the start line with confidence. Barny is the coach of Heather Lieberg, 2019 Austin Marathon female champ (2:42:27) and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.

Are you running the Austin Marathon? Download Barny’s free marathon training plan!

Train for 13.1 with a pro

Barny is a world-class triathlete, winning or placing at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished second in his home country with a time of 8:02:14. He ran the marathon portion of the triathlon (final portion) in 2:44:09! During the marathon, Barny averaged 6:26 min/mile after swimming 2.4 miles and cycling 112 miles! His coaching style provides athletes with a blend of training knowledge he’s learned first-hand. Barny also includes lessons he’s been taught from other world-class runners and triathletes. Barny lives in Austin, but coaches athletes around the world.

This downloadable plan is geared for runners who want to complete their first half marathon or set a new PR on the streets of Austin. You can customize this training plan yourself by adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

Pro tip: when you have a rest day, take it!

Take your training to the next level and contact Matthews today for personalized coaching. Make sure you ask for his special Austin Marathon coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email to download the Austin Half Marathon training plan!

Free half marathon training plan for the month of November, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Half Marathon.

Free half marathon training plan for the month of December, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Half Marathon.

Free half marathon training plan for the month of January, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Half Marathon.

Free half marathon training plan for the month of February, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Half Marathon.