race strategy help (hilly race)- updated with results-RR! (Read 216 times)


    I have a 22.2 km race coming up. I’m wondering what my race strategy should be, since it is supposed to be quite hilly. Here’s the elevation chart:


    My  hm PR from last month is 1:40:10, and I don’t think my fitness improved since then. This HM wasn’t totally flat, but it wasn’t as hilly as this one. It was windy and raining, but this upcoming race could be pretty hot, especially since it starts at 5:30 PM,  so conditions, while greatly different, won’t be ideal either.


    What do you think is an attainable time goal? What should my pacing be like?


    Thank you in advance!


      Not knowing more about you it's difficult to offer advice but since your most recent half-time is similar to mine I'll assume we're at the same fitness level.  A 1:40 half would give you a ~3:30 marathon.  But this isn't a "normal" marathon - weird start-time, killer hills, weather - is some of this on a trail?  I would shoot for a 3:45.  Be really careful on the down-hills to not get seduced into running too fast.


      And then the heat. . . so hard to account for the weather.

      Someone else stole this from Galloway's 1984 book - and I stole it from them.  I don't think there's any science behind this, use it more as a guideline.  Galloway assumes 55 or lower is optimal.  The percent shown is percent slower than goal pace.


      55-60 degrees.....1%
      60-65 degrees.....3%
      65-70 degrees.....5%
      70-75 degrees.....7%
      75-80 degrees.....12%
      80-85 degrees.....20%
      above 85.....forget it, run for fun


      Don't try and "bank-time" on the down-hills.  Banking time never works for me. It might work for some people but I've never had any luck with it.  I would shoot for 7:50 - 8:10 most of the time on the flat and down-hill sections; it might be hard to run that slow those first 5 miles. And then let myself go as slow as 10:30s on some of the hills.  You want to get yourself to mile 19 in one piece and then open it up - the last 6 miles are to show what your made of.  And for me, often I'm made of 12:30 and weeping cries of despair but we don't do it because it's easy.


      Good luck




        But this isn't a "normal" marathon


        Right. For starters it's not a marathon. It's about 1K longer than a half marathon.


        To be honest that elevation chart doesn't look all that daunting. It looks like it's mostly on graded dirt roads and even though there are some long gradual climbs there are also some nice long gradual downhills. I wouldn't be surprised if you come pretty close to your recent half marathon pace. I would not stick too rigidly to a pace plan, try to run by effort and keep the effort as even as possible over the uphills and downhills.

        Runners run.

          I'm guessing that scale is meters rather than feet, mikey.

            Well yeah but just going by the relative lack if spikes in the line (which, granted, could be totally misleading) it looks super graded. I mean it's hilly but it's not monkey. The heat could be the bigger factor.


            The winning times last year were slow but not ridiculous. The top two guys ran 6:14 and 6:24 per mile pace (huge gap). In a race with 122 runners.

            Runners run.

              I'm assuming the color coding on the bar is % inlcine or decline.


              Overall it looks like it nets a little downhill and I'm with Mikey, the grades don't look that bad.  Don't go too nuts on the long downhill at the start, but you should be able to bank a little time on that.  Give some of it up on 6 - 9 and then enjoy the little downhill after that.  That's a long one at the 10K mark, but not very steep and you get that little break right in the middle of it.  Make sure you have something saved up for the hill at the 17K though.  Once you get over that it looks like you are home free.


              The big issue for me personally would be the temperature.  If it gets much over 70 degrees I start to wilt pretty quickly.  I generally end up pouring more water on me than I drink during races in the summertime.

              Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

              Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)


                Thank you for the replies!


                Sorry about the misunderstanding: we use the metric system, so my 22.2 km race is a bit less than 14 miles.


                Yes, the chart is in meters, not feet. I'll hope the weather cooperates, and if it does, maybe aim for even effort and an overall pace of 7:40 (1:46 finish).


                Thanks for reassuring me about the hills: I couldn't figure out what this elevation chart will feel like by myself!


                  Sorry about the misunderstanding: we use the metric system, so my 22.2 km race is a bit less than 14 miles.




                  I'm sorry (not apologetic) that you have to apologize for using the metric system.


                    Dang it - and I thought I was so smart.


                      On a race with a lot of long hills, how much faster should you allow yourself to go on the downhills?  I did a very hilly five miler where I flew down the early hills, then had no energy for the later climbs.  I'd like to avoid that in future.  At the same time, it's hard not to go faster on long or steep downhills, especially when you know you'll lose time on the big climbs.


                        I'm running a hilly race too in about a week (the San Francisco marathon). My advice to you would be to go out slow for the first half. The hills on your course seem to be mostly in the back half of the course. You want to make sure to conserve your energy and strength for them. Then, of course, if you have extra energy left you can use it for the finish (which looks to be flat/downhill).


                        This is actually my advice for all long races. If you go out out slow, you can always pick up the pace later. However, if you go out too fast, you're pretty much done and have to go into survival mode at the end. Bonne chance!



                          I ran the race yesterday and it went very well.

                          Before: I drove there with a friend who was running the 5k and we arrived during the afternoon so we could lounge on the nearby beach. We made sure to hydrate and eat well until 2 hours before the race. I had severe side stitches during my last half and this problem occurred quite frequently during the last month of training, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

                          Weather: It was really nice, and cooler than it could have been for this time of the year: sunny with around 70-75 at the start.

                          The race: I wrote the kilometers where there would be hills on my forearm, and I was happy I did because I knew when to conserve my energy and when to let it all out. It was also nice because sometimes I had written, for example, that there was a hill for 3k, but in reality the bad part of the hill was much shorter or there were flat parts in the middle of it.

                          People went out really fast: during the first kilometer, I had to force myself not to follow the group that was going at my 5k pace. I controlled myself because I knew many of those runners would not be able to maintain such a pace and that I would pass them later on (I did pass quite a few, but the field was fast, IMO).

                          My strategy was to go at my half pace when it was flat, to run as effortlessly as possible on the downhills (I passed a lot of people there!) and to go by effort on the uphills.

                          Here are my splits (by km)

                          1- 4:24

                          2- 4:36

                          3- 4:22

                          4- 4:31

                          5- 4:51

                          6- 4:40

                          7- 5:13

                          8- 4:46

                          9- 5:09

                          10- 5:08

                          11- 4:27

                          12- 5:40

                          13- 5:07

                          14- 4:54

                          15- 4:43

                          16- 4:52

                          17- 5:02

                          18- 4:55

                          19- 5:55 (huge hill, my legs were dead)

                          20- 4:49

                          21- 4:42

                          22- 4:08

                          .200 - 4:00 pace

                          Final time: 1:47:56

                          overall: 36/213

                          female: 8/70

                          category: 6/33

                          No more marathons

                            Very nice - cool that your last two K was (slightly) faster than the first two.  Always a good indicator of a well paced effort.

                            Boston 2014 - a 33 year journey

                            Lordy,  I hope there are tapes. 

                            He's a leaker!




                              For the SF Marathon, I ran blindly without a watch and my plan was to take it easy and enjoy the sights. Amazingly, after 26.2 miles, I ended up finishing within one minute of my goal time. Smile


                                Congratulations cincyjacket!  I'm now so used to racing with my Garmin that it would totally freak me out to race without it...


                                Glad you had success and came close to your goal.