Have you signed up for the first ever Mount Panorama Punish, a 6.2km #onehotlap of the most iconic race track in Australia? You have probably seen the track on TV or perhaps you have travelled around the circuit yourself, either in a car or on foot. You would now know that it is very much a beast of a running race and preparing for the event is vital in ensuring you have what it takes to get across the finish line on race day.
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 Mt Panorama Punish this approach can be very problematic and lead to trouble, particularly for those not familiar or used to running on very hilly courses. Some effective strategies for managing your effort on race day will mean you are likely to hit the King of the Mountain point strongly and avoid the dreaded “blow up”!
1) Plan your effort: The climb is roughly 2.5km up with pitches of 15% at an average or 7.8%. This means is it tough and you will be running uphill for a longer time than you’re used to so it is very important your effort (intensity) is consistent and you do not push too hard too early. You want to make sure you feel comfortable throughout and minimise energy expenditure through shortening your stride, keeping tall, driving your knees through and having fast/light feet.
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) Use technology: Using a device can assist in tracking your effort in the race. Having a target heart rate zone (based off evidence in YOUR training), splits for sections that you work towards or in this case ascent metres per minute can be effective ways to manage your progress up the mountain. Be sure to use your own data history when judging the technology based guides and always allow for some give, both up and down, as on the day you may not run exactly as planned.
4) Minimise waste: Energy is broken down during every muscular contraction during exercise and in distance running this means millions and millions of muscular contractions utilising billions of ATP molecules. By making sure your form is efficient and that you run within your fitness level you can minimise wasted energy and dipping into the anaerobic pathway. Distance running is an aerobic activity and relies on oxygen being present at the breakdown of ATP within the muscle, as soon as you tip into the anaerobic pathway oxygen leaves this breakdown and fatigue sharply increases. You can recover but it must be noted that this will definitely affect your performance and will make the hot lap around the mount a bit more of a challenge than if you make sure you manage you effort aerobically throughout the race.
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 Mount Panorama Punish. Everyone is welcome and catered for.