Know the hills –
This is where you will need to make some adjustments to your pace approach.Onesourcesuggests that you lose ~20-30 seconds / mile on a 100 foot / mile climb (and 40-70 seconds /mile on a 200 foot / mile climb). You gain 15 – 20 seconds / mile on a 100 foot / mile drop and 20 – 40seconds / mile on a 200 foot / mile drop. With all this information, you can see how specific splits maybe impacted in the race – and make adjustments accordingly. Once you balance out all the plusesand minuses (only focusing on significant hills), adjust the pace for the rest of your miles accordingly.
Summarize your strategy –
I usually find it helpful to write things out as a way of imprinting them inmy memory – that’s largely why I blog. If you can’t simply explain your race strategy, then you reallycan’t count on remembering and executing it on race day. This forces you to keep it simple. As an example, let me take this approach in preparing my Akron Marathon race strategy. First, I hadoriginally set a goal of around 3:04 – roughly halfway from my PR of 3:08:48 to my goal of 3:00 for Boston inthe spring. However, as Ireevaluated my training shortly after the mid-point of the cycle, it seemed prettyclear that a 3:00 time should be within reach at Akron, so I am adjusting my goal accordingly (my trainingworkout paces have been largely inline with a 3:00 goal, and in particular I have put in some half-marathonsat that pace without much effort). Checking the McMillan calculator, this gives splits of 6:53 / mile. Myintention is to do even splits. I know that I have a tendency to go out too fast so forcing myself into a negativesplits approach is difficult; even splits is at least “conceivable.”Fortunately, since Akron is only 45 minutes away (and I had some spare time on my hands the first week of the taper), I did have the opportunity to try out the course. I had also chatted with others who had run therace previously and the common thread was to be careful about the hills on miles 15 – 19. I could tell fromthe hill profile that miles 19-24 were no picnic either, and since mile 24 is actually pretty close to mile 11 onthe route, I was able to do a loop of just over a half-marathon (just a bit longer than the 12 miles my plan hadcalled for), specifically testing out the most challenging hills. This was a big help in building a strategy, as Idiscovered that I was ableto maintain a sub-6:50 pace on the hills without too much effort. I also discoveredthat miles 19.5 to 22 will be a major mental challenge, as it’s largely straight, slightly uphill, and seemed to goon longer than expected.Studying the elevation charts, I cansee that the first 11 miles areroughly flat (give or take a bitaround mile 8). I’m not going toworry too much about adjusting mypace there. Mile 12 involves a200’ drop – I should gain maybe 30seconds on that split. Miles 18 and19 make up for that drop with anequivalent climb – I should counton losing maybe 40 secondsspread over those two splits (I’ve done a lot of hill work so will keep my estimate on the low end). I’ll loseanother 20 seconds on the 100 foot climb at the beginning of mile 23, and make up that amount in mile 25.Thus, my plan is to go out at a 6:50 pace for the first 11 miles (and not get concerned if mile 8 is a bit slow,or mile 9 a bit fast). Mile 12 should come in around 6:30, and then level out again around 6:50 through mile17. Miles 18 and 19 can be around 7:10 each, and I’ll push to get back to 6:50 for miles 20-22. Mile 23 mayslip to 7:10, mile 24 at 6:50, and mile 25 at 6:30 (should start “emptying the tank” here). If I assume a 6:50on the last mile, this puts my overall time at around 2:59:20, giving me just a little time to spare on the backend or the more challenging hills. I think this is achievable and easy to remember, with just a little study.Does anyone have any good race strategy advice to add, or suggestions on my own approach?
You may also find these interesting:
Relaxing to the Win – 2011 Towpath Marathon Race Report Akron Marathon Post-Mortem and Lessons Learned Aching in Akron – Marathon Race ReportRace Report – Going by Feel at the River Run Half MarathonPosted inRaces Training
Posted by Greg