Thursday, April 7, 2011

Comparing a local run to the Big Sur course

Today was a big day for me -- my last long midweek run before Big Sur. I did 14 miles, and the longest run on the midweek schedule between now and May 1 is a 10 miler next week that I'll probably trim down to 9. Since we're starting to get a sense of what the course will be like, I decided to run a fairly hilly route to see how the local terrain compares to Big Sur. Here's what I came up with:

The elevation profile on the bottom is the route I ran today. On top is Brian Rowlett's profile of a portion of the Big Sur course. I've normalized the vertical and horizontal scales on the two graphs, so a hill that's the same size on both graphs should be about the same size in real life. The fact that my course is a little more "jagged" than Brian's is probably due to differences in the smoothing algorithms our running software uses (or the fact that there are fewer trees in Big Sur)—my experience running here is not a bunch of tiny little hills, and from what I've read about Big Sur, there aren't hills like that there either.

But take a look at the larger hills and what you'll find is that they're actually pretty similar. I count about six major hills on my route and five on the Big Sur route. I think the hills on my local route are a bit bigger than the hills in Big Sur, though, and this is reflected in our overall GPS figures. My GPS recorded a cumulative elevation gain of 990 feet over 14.2 miles, while Brian recorded 1,203 vertical feet in 24.2 miles. That works out to about 700 vertical feet over 14.2 miles of Brian's route, compared to 990 for my route. It's looking like my route today was just a bit hillier than the Big Sur course.

I took it easy today, running this route at roughly a 9-minute pace. Could I run a course like that at an 8-minute pace, adding an extra 12 miles? Assuming the weather cooperates and I'm healthy, after a nice taper and four days of carbo-loading, I think it just might be possible.

Details of today's workout are below:

No comments:

Post a Comment