Like any race most runners will go in with an idea of what average pace or speed they can run for that distance, usually measured in time splits, segments or pace bands. For an event like Mount Panorama Punish this approach can be very problematic and lead to trouble, particularly for those not familiar or used to running on a course with long climbs that change gradient (how steep it is) often. Utilising some strategies throughout the race, and in practice, will mean you arrive at the skyline feeling “fresh” and ready to descend strongly.

1) Plan your effort: The climb is roughly 2.5km up with pitches of 15% at an average or 7.8%. As well as dealing the absolute beastly steepness of the climb you will need to manage its changes in pitch throughout. The corners tend to have steep ramps in and out and using one side of the road can lessen the gradient a touch. Knowing when the flatter sections are coming and when the ups get real UP will also help, so take these point into account. A quick summary from start to KOM is:

– Gradual up to corner one roughly 250m.
– Steep but consistent up to Mt Panorama Wines (good Shiraz) 500m or so.
– Little downhill another 250m.
– Steep up and up and up around the corner followed by a really pinchy little bend, roughly 900m of fun.
– You can see the top, it flattens out but wait, that is not the top, a good 1000m.
– Basically it is important to know that you will need to stay in control.

2) Watch for signs: Your body will tell you how it is travelling under stress in a running event. Key physiological signs you can recognise without any technology are: a high respiration rate (heavy breathing, shortness of breath), increase in lactate (heavy legs, feeling unwell & blood taste in mouth) and change in running gait (failure of a muscle group such as your glutes). These signs indicate whether your effort is too high or above what you have trained for and by identifying these signs throughout your training you should be able to pick them up and adjust your effort to ensure you run to your potential.

3) Minimise waste: As you run up this hill you want to make sure you are not wasting any energy through bad form, poor execution or over revving the engine. Think about how you are climbing, are you keeping your form – standing tall? driving with your knees? – keeping your stride length short in line with gradient? These things are important form points to make sure you don’t waste energy running up. Further to this make sure you execute well, do not go out too hard too early and work the hill in a manner that will allow you to get running effectively when it flattens out. Imagine you have a rev metre like a car, going into the red too much too early is a bad thing, keep it just below and controlled and you will definitely perform better.

Stay tuned for my next training tip, Downhill Running. Remember, each week at 6pm UP Coaching Bathurst meets with a fully coached training session focused on preparing for the Mt Panorama Punish. Everyone is welcome and catered for.

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