Sunday, June 25, 2017

Belfast24 Preamble

On Saturday July 1st (Canada Day) Ill be taking part in the World 24 hour championships in Belfast, Ireland. This is a 1.65 km loop around beautiful Victoria Park. The average temperature this time of the year is 15 degrees and rains an average 12 days out of the month meaning its the perfect venue to post some big numbers. The course is very flat with only four rounded bends per loop. The surface is all concrete which may pose issues with consistently hitting hard roughly a quarter of a million times that day. Canada is sending a strong team consisting of 5 men and 6 women. Sharon and my daughter Julia will be crewing me which is no small task as they will be seeing me every 8-9 minutes nonstop for 24 hours straight. The race starts at noon (5 am MST).

My race plan is simple but heavy. The first hour of running I will not look at my watch, instead I'll shake out the cobwebs and relax into the day most likely talking to other runners and enjoying the moment. After that I'll go out at a 5 min/km pace and just hang in there. This is my all day space and place. If all goes well in the front half by midnight (the 12 hour split) I'll be banking 144 km in the front half. My hope is to hold onto that pace for the first 14 hours, after that time I understand my physiological pace will slow down and maintaining the same effort level will produce a new pace. My goal pace for hours 14 through 18 will ideally be ~5:30 min/km. The wiggle room in my pace chart lies in the back 6 hours. From hours 18-24 I have placed my speed at that time ~6 min/km. This is where all the work and mental prep will come in as when the sun rises with 6 hours left to go and the other runners are finding a new gear I'm hoping I will find mine as well. The last 4 hours will be spent knowing where the other runners are and focusing on my turnover to keep the speed reasonable. This pace plan will result in 271 kms.

The keys to a successful race will be:
Crew efficiency - Sharon and Julia will have their work cut out for them being very organized, calm, and able to change plans on the fly. The weather may play a role in their delivery methods but I have the utmost confidence in their skills.
Pacing - My fitness level is quite good at this point so it's important to not get caught up in others' racing early on. If I can get to where I want to be at 14 hours my pacing work is complete.
Fueling - Eat 50% more than what I'll feel like eating.
Shoes - Change from the New Balance Zante to the NB 1080 if I feel the surface is hurting too much. Don't hesitate, just do it.

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