Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Breaking it into chunks

Another guy breaks the Marathon World Record. How crazy is that?. There have been already hundreds of analysis of the race, I liked this one I like the chart breaking the race into 5k splits and eigths or quarters.

The chart got me thinking on my own performance. The idea of breaking races into chunks is not new, and I have had a few races planned like that.

The problem is the implementation of the strategies come race day. If it is a triathlon, there's always the chance that the plans go out de window due to blowing up on the swim, or too early on the bike. On one occasion I went all as per plan, only to find myself getting hypothermic during the run and not been able to execute what I wanted. Another time it was the weather.

If it is a run race, there's the issue of having the competition dictate the pace and forgetting about listening to my own breathing. A few weeks ago I turned into a 18k trail run. I wasn't meant to be there, but someone offered me a spot and I would not refuse a chance to get out with the wife and friends. As it turns out, the early pace was set by guys that slowly disappeared and I found myself sitting somewhere in the front of the field following a very good climber up a hill. I soon realized that a wall was going to be hitting me at a very high speed. Then I slowed, gathered some strength and hit the last 4k's like a ton of bricks (sub 3:45 pace). It took me a while, but I passed the good climber, and I ran out of field to catch the guy ahead (15 seconds anyone?).

Back to the marathon, it takes a lot of self confidence to slow down in order to break the record. But being such a complete athlete, Kipsang knew that it would be all within reach. And the two sub 2:50min/km pace made up the 15 seconds of light between his glory and the former record. It is very small margins, and nailing it as he did is a commendable thing.

What's up in life? Uni finishing soon. Tri sieason starting soon. Sea swim season starting soon. Ultra run in 3 weeks!... with my hands full at the moment.

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