Friday, March 21, 2014

Around the Bay 30K new course route and strategy for 2014 (updated)

It's a month out until the old granddaddy of Ontario road races, the Around the Bay 30K. As usual, I'm coming out with an updated Around the Bay 30K 2014 strategy guide based on the new course. I'm going to look at bit at the first 10K that was changed this year.

UPDATE: The Around the Bay 2015 course will not have the infamous hill, according to the race director in several reports.

The changes to the race route took place after a train delayed runners from crossing. I documented some pictures from those delays last year.



Update: Canadian Running has uploaded a virtual course video. Great job guys.


So here's a look at the new route, which has runners going up on Bay St toward the waterfront, then on to Burlington St. before it rejoins the old course around 11K in.

New Route

Here's the old route, which runners are familiar with

Last year's route

The Around the Bay folks did a little map that showcases two water stations in the first 10K



View Around the Bay Road Race in a larger map

A couple points I'll note, based on these Streetview maps:

The route is relatively flat at the start, even looks slightly downhill


View Around the Bay Road Race in a larger map

Waterfront running is nice


View Around the Bay Road Race in a larger map

Should be a few interesting turns around the park getting to Burlington St.



View Around the Bay Road Race in a larger map

Burlington Street could have some rises we'll have to deal with



View Around the Bay Road Race in a larger map

Here's a comment from Emma who will be running the route and hopefully updating us:

It occurs to me that the first turn on the new route could be messy (although given the bridge construction on Bay it will probably be a turn onto James instead, once they revise the route again). A lot of people still very crowded together having to make a quick sharp turn? Potential trouble spot, especially for those of us who start further back in the crowd.

We haven't been able to test run Burlington Street because it's really not suitable or safe for pedestrians, at all. I'm planning to drive it sometime soon, though, to get a feel for how much elevation change there will be with the overpasses



Other posts on Around the Bay:
For the rest of the race, here's the 11Kish to the 30K from my older strategy guide, as that really hasn't changed.

Bridge to Burlington: I like to look at the 10K mark, when you pass the first relay point, is a great time to hammer it. The crowds of the start will probably start to thin, if it's a sunny day, then you'll get the perfect temperature and  you'll have some energy to use up after a smart start. One danger is the wind speed as many places on this course are exposed. There are also slight inclines and that are worth putting stress on other muscle groups. I've often stepped up the pace in this stretch, especially if there is a good group of other runners to pace with.




The hills: Oh yes, this is where the fun begins. Before I talk about them, here's an elevation profile.

Around the Bay is essentially flat, with little rises, until you hit North Shore in Burlington. For everyone who runs Around the Bay, it's these hills and how you negotiate them that defines this historic run. For those who train for Boston, for example, these hills are good training for the hills of Newton. What you do get is a special test, from around kilometre 20 to 26. Over this space, you'll tackle hills, both uphills and downhills.

The hills have different profiles. Below is one of the early risers that stretches for nearly 500 metres. It's one of those long slow climbs.  My strategy for this hill is to run it with the same effort that you'd run flat. Don't stop, even when others do. You can regroup on the flats and downhills.

One of the big hills on North Shore. This one continues for about 500 metres. Google Street View

With the hills, of course you'll get downhills like this (which you'll encounter about 150 metres after you climb the hill above. Coast down these hills, let gravity do its job, and recover your breath. Of course, right after this downhill, you have to climb up again. I kinda hate this hill.
Yay downhill. Google Street View

So the hills are spread out. I find some of the smaller climbs to be tough, when you are trying to maintain that same pace you started the race with some 25 kilometres earlier. And that's what gets you about these hills. They come late. Go out too fast, and you could be done. Forget to take a few gels, and you could be out of gas. If you didn't train for endurance or for hills, then they can eat you up.

But Around the Bay is probably most famous for two massive hills at the end, appropriately at the end of a big cemetery.

You'd rejoice on this big downhill at Spring Garden... Google Street View

Here's the huge drop at Spring Garden Road. The elevation chart above shows it as the beginning of the big V. You can really motor down this run, and you better, because you've got to climb up it.



But then you have to climb this... Google Street View
The view above is if you looked back after climbing Valley Inn Road. If you've never run it, all I can prepare you for it is to think of it as three steep climbs. The first takes you under a bridge, followed by the second that gets you up the length of the hill, followed by the final hill that takes you around the bend.




Downhill home: After conquering the bridge, you still got some more to go until the end. I've exited the final uphill with pace and cruised home with my fastest splits. Nothing really more to say that if you parcelled out energy through the first 26ish kilometres, the last bit -- which features the Grim Reaper -- can be a nice little victory run after the hard hills. In past runs, i've had to deal with cramping or just hitting a mini wall. Other times, perfect ending.


Whatever the end, nothing beats running towards Copps Coliseum, where you will run into the arena to the finish. Watch the little ramp downhill when you're making your big entrance.


If you skipped the text, here is the best way to run ATB:
KM 1 - 10: Run it smart, but you can run it at your goal pace
KM 11 - 20: If you feel good, continue on that fast pace, or even put some time in your bank with faster splits
KM 21 - 27: Take the hills with confidence, but take advantage of those downhills, as they'll give you your time back
To the end: This is downhill mostly, so if you got energy, burn it up!

You run it? What are your tips?

10 comments:

Robin said...

I read/re-read your course info every year! Love this race.

Emma said...

I love your ATB strategy guides. Like Robin said, I read and re-read every year!

Emma said...

It occurs to me that the first turn on the new route could be messy (although given the bridge construction on Bay it will probably be a turn onto James instead, once they revise the route again). A lot of people still very crowded together having to make a quick sharp turn? Potential trouble spot, especially for those of us who start further back in the crowd.

We haven't been able to test run Burlington Street because it's really not suitable or safe for pedestrians, at all. I'm planning to drive it sometime soon, though, to get a feel for how much elevation change there will be with the overpasses.

macnic said...

Emma, you guys should really update Kenny if/when you run/drive the new part. It will be interetesting for sure as it isn't going to be the same "easy" 10k as in the past. I'm running it next weekend (I hope) so I'll share what I find as well. Thanks for revising Kenny, I always pass this post along to ATB newbies as well. You should link up in the 2014 run group on FB

yumke said...

Yes, please leave your intel with me and i'll update this post!

Kristi said...

I'm looking forward to reading more updates about ATB. This will be my first time running it, just planning on using it as a long training run but still feeling a little nervous about it! Thanks for all the info you provide!

paulradcliffe said...

Thank you for sharing this Kenny. I wasn't sure what to expect for the new route. This helps a lot!

Nicole Macpherson said...

http://runningintune.blogspot.ca/2014/03/around-bay-course-guide-2014-first-10k.html

There is Emma's update

Lenna Wichenko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike @ FitFriend said...

Very thorough. I will definitely read this when I'm running it one year... I still read it now though ;)