Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Fade Factor

Please don't mind the typos and grammatical blunders. It's week 4 of 4 of being on the road, and I don't care about literary prowess. I typed up the following on the plane the other day and sent the spreadsheet off to a few to mess around with. Read at your own risk.


The Fade Factor

This is a number which most distance runners can grasp, although few probably know what their number is. This number also changes based on weather, course conditions, course length, course duration in time, and your own physical condition.

Simply put, it is the rate at which you slow after a certain point. For simplicity sake, I am going to make the Fade Factor static to only the first half of the race, and the second half of the race. This means if you slow a lot more from mile 75-100 than you did at 50-75, I am not factoring that in.

So here is how it works.
 Take a 50 mile race taking 10 hours (hmmm sounds familiar)
o Fade factor should be between .40 and .45
 Run the first 50 in 4 – 4.5 hours, the second in 5.5 to 6 hours.
o If you use my Voyageur example, my Fade Factor was
 .43

I put together a spreadsheet for the Superior Sawtooth 100, and this factor was the key into planning a smart race. After about an hour of formula crunching, I came up with what seems to be a sensible breakdown of any time 24-38 hours and where one would hit each aid station.

Last year my fade was .40 (I guess more accurately I should say .60). This was after hobbling and limping for 30 miles or so.

One would reason that the closer you are to .5, the better shape you are in and/or you ran a smarter race. I think this only works to a point.

I think the magic number is .45/.55. That happens to be my factor a Kettle Moraine this year, and I felt good at the end of the race. I think .40/.60 will usually have a story behind it. My .40/.60 at Superior last year was a combination of many things, and it was hard on the body and hard on the mind.

On the flip side, my Ice Age 50 factor this year was .48/.52. I think I left some one the table and could have run the entire race faster.

So I have this sheet which you can type in your fade and determine the race strategy you want to follow. If you want a copy, email me. Right now it is only for Superior, but I might make it more of a template for any race.


Oh yeah, I have been in LA this week and caught a picture of a raging forest fire on the Angeles Crest 100 course. Hey Helen, you might be setting course records, but fire is hotter than lean horse.


Londell said...

I am a techy numbers spreadsheet guy... Can you send me the spreadsheet?

Anonymous said...

yeah dude, can't wait for the 50 miler. Should be good test of my fitness and tell me where I need to be for November at the OT 100 miler. I felt great last weekend pacing at Leadville for 50 miles wasn't even the least bit sore. there will be a few Nerds coming up with me.

brothergrub said...

I'm a big numbers geek - Show me your spread-sheet and I'll show you mine... (Wow that sounds bad...)

Anonymous said...

I need to look at this....I already did a pace chart from 13- 20min miles over the course, studying the splits report from last

Helen said...

Thanks Matt - that's just what I need :)

Will ya email me that formula also -

Runnin-From-The-Law said...

Looks like you have been spending your time away from home wisely - developing fade factor spreadsheets and fighting forest fires.

nwgdc said...

Matt, regarding your comment on my recent post:
Matt- do you mean a single Blok...30 calories and all, or do you mean a single pack of Bloks?
A single ShotBlok seems like very little caloric intake.
Don't get me wrong, I hope that's what you mean, because, as mentioned, I stink at taking food in!