Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brooklyn Half: Know the Course

#9. Know the course

Study this course map, and visualize your race.

Many of us (including myself) set up a specific per-mile pace. The terrain doesn't always agree. Know the terrain. If for some reason you've never been in Prospect Park, get there now: two loops for the uninitiated won't be fun. If you've never done Ocean Parkway - at least do a couple of miles this week. It's flat, and boring, and mind-numbing.

Some thoughts on the per-mile pace, based on the map:

Mile 1: ~even. Slightly uphill net (I think), but adrenaline kicks in from the beginning. If you're stuck back in the pack and don't start running well until the first 1/4 mile, add 15 sec. ... or more Take the start with a grain of salt. If the race hits 10,000, and you're in the back, it's going to be a while before you can start racing.

Mile 2: Add 10 sec-30 sec. You're running uphill for a good 600m this leg. Some thrive, some don't. Take it into account. And don't sweat it, because ...

Mile 3: It's pretty much neutral

Mile 4: ... Subtract 10 sec.-20 sec. How fast are you at the downhills?

Mile 5: Add 10 sec. - 20. sec. Cat Hill redux

Mile 6: I spend the first part of this mile recovering, the second part racing, Because ...

Mile 7: Subract 30 sec. If you're going to set a PR, now's the time to establish it. You're getting the long, rolling downhill stretch out of Prospect Park. You've run a great first half; now's the time to set the tone for the second half, which is flat, boring, flat, boring. (No hills!)

Rest of the race: Flat. Boring. Flat. (Until you hit the final mile on the boardwalk. Where it's flat. And exciting because people are yelling at you. Of course, if you're in the front, at 8:10 a.m., no one will be there except dog-walkers. And the dogs will be excited. (hah/ouch) (So enjoy the different terrain.)

I love the uphills. I thrive on the uphills (I pass people). I stink at the downhills (I get passed). In the first half of this race, there's plenty of both. Know your strengths, and plan your race accordingly.


Diane Melo said...

Hi. For some reason I can't read your entire blog. Talk to me about the hill in Prospect Park. I haven't run that hill before. I got that its about 1/3 of a mile long but how steep are we talking?


Brooklyn Runner said...

It's probably about a 5%-6% grade - which in a lot of ways, doesn't mean much. If you've run the Brooklyn Bridge - that's about a 3% grade. Where do you run? I (or others) can probably give you a comparable place.

Keep in mind it's about 600m, which is longish. Some quick tips: Shorten your stride, lean into the slope (though keep your body at a 90-degree angle to the slope), and use your arms as you work your way up the hill.

Diane Melo said...

I'm actually from Brooklyn but living in MA. The area I run and live in is quite hilly, but nothing really long. I'm no stranger to hills, but no friend either. I don't particularly enjoy them. The long stretch down OP doesn't bother me. That's where I grew up. Long and boring is ok. For some reason seeing the letters of the alphabet go by motivates me to get to the end.

Thanks for the info. See you Sat. Oh. One more thing....what does the weather look like? It looks like cloudy and humid??? Is that right?