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HillyTraining for a Flat Race (Read 145 times)

mab411


Proboscis Colossus

    The course for my goal fall marathon is ridiculously flat - if you look at that elevation profile, we don't even go back up that hill at the beginning, the finish as well as the out-and-back turnaround is after the bottom.

     

    Where I live, the only place to run that's that flat is on a track.  It's not exactly Appalachia, but I seriously don't think I could find a half mile that didn't have me going up or down a hill of some kind.

     

    So I figure this course will feel pretty good to me, once I get there.  My question is, should I anticipate maybe bumping up my pace a little on race day?  I know it's smart to back off for adverse conditions that you didn't train for - humidity and the like - but is it a good idea to do the opposite if conditions are better?  I know the safe bet would be to just keep it at the pace I trained for, but I'd really hate to wait until Mile 16 (where I traditionally assess whether I could kick it up a notch or not) to up my pace, and get to the end with some still left in the tank.

    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

      Speaking strictly from personal experience (i.e. completely non-scientific), I've never had a problem training in the hills and then bumping the pace for a flat race.  That said, I've only run one marathon (very-very flat), and all my training at the time was pretty darned flat as well.

       

      I'm thinking you should go out at your regular pace and then turn up the heat a bit by say, mile 10 if you're feeling really good.  Smile

        Yes, flat is faster than hills. Couple of things…you’ll train for X effort, your effort on race day should be X. Your pace might be faster, but your effort should be the same. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if your watch reads faster, but you should be able to say to yourself – I feel like I feel during my MP runs. Good, strong, comfortable, controlled

         

        Also, flat presents its own challenges – rolling hills are generally a little gentler on the body, giving it breaks and working different systems. That much constant flat you’ll be hammering the same mechanics for a long time. It’s something if you can I would try and simulate – if you can find a lake or a river or a park loop or something flat even if you have to drive a little ways to do a few of your long runs on, it might be worth it to see how you handle the flats.

         

        My stupid 2 have a flat race in 3 days tweaking cents.

         

        MTA: changing the word comfortable as it'll be ripped apart by someone saying "racing isn't comfortable, dude" and it was probably the wrong word, but I meant comfortable like mentally accepting, not sitting in a lazy boy comfort.

        Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
        We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

          I agree that racing on flat course when trained on hilly courses will be faster, but you may find that it could be mentally tougher to hold that constant effort. I always ran on rolling course , then a flat 9 miler on a course with not even a single turn or hill in the South Carolina low country felt like eternity and I really had no idea if the effort I am putting in is the right one. Someone's headlight running a half mile behind me (this was a relay during the night) pushed me as I had no intention of letting him pass, turned out he was farther back than it felt at the time. Practicing running on pace for 40+ laps on a track might give you that mental toughness.

            Yes, flat is faster than hills. Couple of things…you’ll train for X effort, your effort on race day should be X. Your pace might be faster, but your effort should be the same. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if your watch reads faster, but you should be able to say to yourself – I feel like I feel during my MP runs. Good, strong, comfortable, controlled

             

            This

            Runners run.


            delicate flower

              I find it easier to train on hills then run a flat race, rather than train on flat routes then run a hilly race.  For my second marathon, I trained on all flat routes (newbie mistake).  It was a somewhat hilly marathon (Cox Providence) and the hills destroyed me.  So I started runinng hills and the times for all my flat PR's improved.

              roboknee.

              FSBD


                Hills are speed work in disguise

                  I find it easier to train on hills then run a flat race, rather than train on flat routes then run a hilly race.  For my second marathon, I trained on all flat routes (newbie mistake).  It was a somewhat hilly marathon (Cox Providence) and the hills destroyed me.  So I started runinng hills and the times for all my flat PR's improved.

                   

                  Like you said, I'd rather train in the hills and race on the flat than the other way around.  That said, I trained on hills for the hilly 10-miler I ran last Saturday and the hills still destroyed me (just maybe not as much as some of the others around me).  Smile

                    "There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race." - Zatopek

                    "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                    Emil Zatopek


                    Feeling the growl again

                      Yes, flat is faster than hills. Couple of things…you’ll train for X effort, your effort on race day should be X. Your pace might be faster, but your effort should be the same. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if your watch reads faster, but you should be able to say to yourself – I feel like I feel during my MP runs. Good, strong, comfortable, controlled

                       

                      Also, flat presents its own challenges – rolling hills are generally a little gentler on the body, giving it breaks and working different systems. That much constant flat you’ll be hammering the same mechanics for a long time. It’s something if you can I would try and simulate – if you can find a lake or a river or a park loop or something flat even if you have to drive a little ways to do a few of your long runs on, it might be worth it to see how you handle the flats.

                       

                       

                      Nothing else to say, this nails it.

                      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                       

                        If you've been training hills Kevin's post pretty much nails it.

                        I'll add one other thing to it ... A flat marathon, if one is well-trained, CAN be more difficult mentally, as well as phyically, than a course with some slight rollers in it.  At least that's been my experience.  The rollers tend to break up the course a little and give me a mental 'break' in that I can concentrate on cresting the top of a given roller knowing that I have a 'break' in effort coming on the very slight downhill side.  On a flat course I don't have those mental 'breaks' and I have to focus 100% of the time on keeping that effort / pace even the whole way.  It's a heckuva excercise in concentration, hard to not lose focus somewhere along the 26.2 miles.

                        mab411


                        Proboscis Colossus

                          Good info, everyone, thanks.

                           

                          My concern with going by effort - at least early on in the race - is that when I finally get turned loose by the starting gun, I can be going way faster than I should be, and still "feel" like I'm going MP, what with the crowds and the adrenaline and all.  That said, this looks to be a much, much more low-key race than I've run before, which I'm simultaneously dreading and looking forward to: dreading the lack of crowd support/adrenaline, looking forward to the much-simplified logistics of, well, everything else about the race.

                           

                          So anyway, maybe this will be the perfect race to practice going by effort in the early miles.

                          "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                            My two best Marathons were both in the fall on a very flat course.  For each of these, I did most of my long runs in the summer at our cottage up north where it is very hilly and I am convinced it helped me out, however, I would still say it still got mighty tough for the final 10K, so I would still be very very cautious by going out too fast in those first 10-15 miles.   Personally I can't go by "feel" in the first 10-15 miles, because I would always go too fast as it feels so easy at this point.   Instead, I really hold back and just let everybody pass me for the first 10 miles, which is usually about the time I pick up the pace.  As mentioned by others, I strongly believe that running those hills is a great form of speedwork in disquise, which is why I love incorporating them into so many of my long runs.

                             

                            If the first 10-13 miles don't feel uncomfortably slow (both physically and mentally as many runners pass me) I know I may be setting myself up for a big crash at around mile 21 or 22.  However, it sure feels nice being the one doing the passing in that 2nd half.   For example, I bet I got passed by 3000 runners in the first 13 miles at Boston last year, yet I'm pretty sure I passed about 6000 runners in the 2nd half, not to mention it sure was fun running up heartbreak hill as so many people were walking/cramping/puking etc. with there arms on their quads. Smile

                             

                            Good luck!

                              My two best Marathons were both in the fall on a very flat course.  For each of these, I did most of my long runs in the summer at our cottage up north where it is very hilly and I am convinced it helped me out, however, I would still say it still got mighty tough for the final 10K, so I would still be very very cautious by going out too fast in those first 10-15 miles.   Personally I can't go by "feel" in the first 10-15 miles, because I would always go too fast as it feels so easy at this point.   Instead, I really hold back and just let everybody pass me for the first 10 miles, which is usually about the time I pick up the pace.  As mentioned by others, I strongly believe that running those hills is a great form of speedwork in disquise, which is why I love incorporating them into so many of my long runs.

                               

                              If the first 10-13 miles don't feel uncomfortably slow (both physically and mentally as many runners pass me) I know I may be setting myself up for a big crash at around mile 21 or 22.  However, it sure feels nice being the one doing the passing in that 2nd half.   For example, I bet I got passed by 3000 runners in the first 13 miles at Boston last year, yet I'm pretty sure I passed about 6000 runners in the 2nd half, not to mention it sure was fun running up heartbreak hill as so many people were walking/cramping/puking etc. with there arms on their quads. Smile

                               

                              Good luck!

                               

                              Amen.

                              A friend of mine just ran a marathon that was VERY important to him.  His previious PR was 4:09 and he wanted to run a BQ (<3:25).  He had put in all the work and volume and I knew he could easily run 3:25.  My last day advice to him was that if the first part of the race didn't feel ridiculously easy/slow that he should slow down.  He said OK but of course once the race starts and you are, what feels like, jogging at 3:05 finish pace that advice goes out the window.  At mile 21 it became run/walk for him but he still made his BQ at 3:23.  He said later that it was a mistake to run with the 3:05 group even though it felt "so easy".  It ALWAYS feels so easy in the first 15 miles!  He's got a much better marathon in him when he really holds back some in those first miles.

                                Hills are speed work in disguise

                                 

                                Blaine Moore posted this on RA after winning the Providence Marathon (2008?) and I took it to heart, it's true.  Best of luck with your race, be sure to check in with a report after.

                                E.J.
                                Greater Lowell Road Runners
                                Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

                                May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.

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