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I am a recovering bike racer who married a runner. My heart, lungs and legs are fine, but my strategy is weak. I run about 30 miles a week and have done well in my age group (I'm 43) in 5k races with times ranging from 17:45
18:30. I generally just try to run fast and push it without blowing up. In flat 5k's I tend to do the first mile in about 5:30, 2nd in just under 6and 3rd in about 6:00 with a decent sprint to the finish. I've been told to run even splits, but I'm awful at judging my pace. This weekend I'm doing a big July 4th 5 miler in my hometown. The course makes me even more concerned about pacing. The first 2.2 miles are moderate and steady downhill. This is followed by a nasty steep uphill for about .5 mile and then steady uphill to the 4 mile marker. The last mile is slightly downhill for about 10 blocks and finishes slightly uphill for the last .2. I've done pretty well the last two years, but would love to have a strategy this year. As a biker I had all the info in front of meheart rate, current speed, avg. speed, etc. I would really appreciate some advice on strategy from you guys and women who know what you're doing. My goal isn't about place, I just want to run the best time I can. Thanks in advance!
Don't expect running even splits on hills. I'm not a biker but I would think that a similar strategy for uphill biking would also apply to running: Increase your "foot" cadence and "downshift" by decreasing the length of your stride. You will run slower but you'll conserve your energy which you'll need to finish the race. Also resist the tendency to speed up on the downhill side. Landing on a long stride downhill causes heavy pounding on your joints and can lead to injury. Use the same uphill strategy on the downhill side to put the "brakes" on.
Here's an article by Dr. Romanov that explains it all: http://www.posetech.com/training/archives/000320.html
Thanks ProPilot, That helped a lot and putting it in biking terms made it easy to conceptualize. I went out fast, but put it in an easier gear for the steep hilly section with shorter strides and faster turnover. I felt much better and was able to turn it on for the last mile and put in a good sprint at the finish. I ended up :55 seconds faster than last year and felt much better during the last 2 miles. I really appreciate your advice. Here's a profile of the run (I think I forgot to mention that it was at ~8000ft above sea level)