Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pacing for NorthCoast 24 hour race

I thought I would share my pacing strategy for NorthCoast 24.  Having handicapped myself with 20 extra pounds and less mileage than I would like does nothing to my normal 24 hour pacing strategy.

That is because my 24 hour pacing strategy has nothing to do with pace and everything to do with effort level.  It is very simple, but very hard to execute.

Why is so hard to execute?  In the 1st part of the race, everyone will be lapping me, some lapping so often it will feel like I am standing still.  It will be likely if I execute my pacing strategy well, I will fall to 40th - 50th place or further early on.  When I hit 100 miles, I may not be in the top 20 yet.

1st 12 hours (9am - 9pm) - The pace should feel as easy as sitting on the couch watching TV.  Everything should be relaxed, if any strain comes into muscles or breathing, it's time to back off.

Next 5 hours (9pm - 1am) - Try to stay relaxed, the effort level picks up to what a 5 hour training run at easy pace would feel like.

1 am to 6 am - This is when a person finds out where they are mentally.  There is enough time left that it seems like a long time to suffer.  Your body is starting to hurt and it is easy to start to let the pain dictate slowing way down or walking for extended periods of time.   This is where I want to feel pain, lots of pain, welcome the pain and keep extremely focussed to get as much out of my body as possible.  My plan is to run these 5 hours like there are only 6 hours left in the race - pushing hard.

6 am - 9 am - The reason I am willing to push hard the previous 5 hours is because I believe if I am in position to get a good mileage with 3 hours left, I will find a way to get it done.  I will have ate, drank and electrolyted properly, so it will only be the strength of my mind that determines how many miles I can get in the last 3 hours.

So what does all this mean? 

I have no idea - I believe there is a large range of possibilities of what an effort based pacing strategy will yield.  But I do have an idea what I think it will deliver:
1)  1st 50 miles in 7:45-8:00
2)  2nd 50 miles in 8:15-8:45
3)  Last part of pace between 10-11 minute miles

Best case:  148
More likely:  139

Of course there are 10 things that have to go extremely well to get to the 139-148 range and any one of them going really poorly will dramatically decrease the mileage ... this is going to be fun!

Good running to all -


  1. Sounds like a good plan, remember to have fun and smile and relax.

    Tim Podas

  2. Thanks - It is always exciting to race.

    We are leaving as soon as we drop the girls off at school tomorrow. I am all packed and ready.