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: Be smart early and remember the start means an uphill run with only a short section of down until you hit Skyline. This is at times very steep and as you expect, long long long, for uphill road running. You will need to be very mindful of how hard you run, your pace will drop but you must be aware of everything else rising, that being heart rate, breathing, etc. Look to adapt to the gradient and get your approach in sync with your fitness and the course. 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) Stick to your plan: It is easy to get caught up in the moment and surge just that little bit quicker UP Pit Straight at the start. Once you get outside your plan and approach things start to fall apart, so you must be disciplined. If you plan on hiking/walking sections stick to it, if you plan on starting conservatively do so and if you remain in control of your race you will likely have a success Punish. Chasing after runners out in front, or pushing outside your plan can be very silly mistakes so be true to your plan, your training and your expectations. There will be 1000’s of runners looking for their own #onehotlap and if you stick to your plan, you’ll have a good day.
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 the 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 meter 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.