Friday, April 6, 2012

Strategy on racing

Most of us keep a plan or strategy on how to run an upcoming race quiet. The reasons are two fold.

1 - One does not want to reveal to the other runners what you will try to do
2 - One does not want to make a grand plan all to fail miserably, and crash and burn.

Since I am not a force to contend with, I decided I will reveal my plan. There are so many new faces and names out there, I don't think it matters at all.

My plan is simple. I will take what the race and day gives me.

The 50 Miler starts Midnight on April 13th (okay, Saturday morning the 14th). The race director actually put in print that it starts at 12:01 am.

First 10 miles - Stay calm. Conserve energy. Run light. Monitor fuel/liquid. Stay calm.

Second 20 miles - Use the flat sections as an opportunity to "run". Keep it easy, but don't hold back too much as there are plenty of runnable sections. Walk the uphills, gently glide the down hills. Keep the heart rate medium/low.

20 - 30 - This is where the race starts to come together. Inexperienced runners will start to struggle here. Focus on the gait, and make sure form is not falling apart. Poor form leads to extra energy spent, to much stress on muscles you don't use, and a bad disposition. I find the key factor in this section is to stay happy, comfortable, and balanced. I might get cold at this point, so staying sufficiently dry and warm is key. If you are dry and warm, you feel good. If you feel good, you stay in the game. I also have to adjust to food and liquid preferences. Drink coffee before I need it. Remember that once the sun comes up, it is a new day and life will come back mentally and physically.

30 - 40 - The hardest part of a 50. The hardest thing to do at this point is just focusing on getting to 40. Keep moving. Minimize time at aid stations. Get to 40, get out of any funk you are in, utilize any runnable opportunities to get to 40. It's all about the 40 at this point for me. Once you are in the 35 - 40 range, any stupidity conducted earlier in the race would have already come to the surface. At this point, there aren't too many dumb things you can do to ruin your race (relatively speaking). Might as well start thinking about "throwing it down" and going for it. Whatever that might mean at that point.

40 - 50 - Final leg. Counting down the miles. Do everything I can to maintain pace. Maintain pace, maintain pace. Keep eating and drinking. Less experienced runners stop eating at this point, leading to serious crash and burns in the last 5 miles. As long as one is maintaining a solid pace, it is tough to get passed. Other runners tend not to up the pace and kill it the last 5 miles. You think you are going all out, but 45 miles or so on the legs make an 8 minute mile seem like a 6.

One you get to 45, it is just a "getting it done" mindset.

So that is my strategy, even it if sounds like a complete void of details and insight.

Bottom line, I will listen to my body and heart, and see what God gives me.


Adam Schwartz-Lowe said...

You're going to get this one in fine style. Plus when you get to my aid station I'll have a carrot and a stick, whichever you need to keep going.

brothergrub said...

Coward -
I like to write out every possible split time and obsess about how I'm off by the second mile and then cry and whine about how it isn't going how I planned it and then drop out in a fit of self-pity and loathing. It's great. You should try it.

Wayne said...

see you out there. say hi when you go by, both times.

Matthew Patten said...

Hey Brothergrub. I have tried that strategy. Who do you think I learned it from?

Unknown said...

The Zumbro 50 will be my 3rd 50 miler and feel I've learned a few new things every time. Your advise/strategy has been helpful in clarifying the race in my head.

I look forward to getting out there and running into the sunrise. See you out there.