Friday, April 04, 2008

Toronto 8K Spring Run-Off, the strategy

Updated in 2016

Okay, this Harry (Race Roster) 8K Spring Run-Off in High Park has been annoying me of late. This Saturday will be the third time I've run this. Last year, the course totally owned me. In 2005, I set my personal best. This year, I'm in pretty good spring shape because of the marathon training. I'm also on a massive running roll. Since September, I've set personal bests in the half marathon, 10K, 5K and marathon distances.

But this 8K race in High Park is more than a measure of fitness. It's a tough one because of the hills and distance. The course has two uphills and two downhills. The legendary downhill after the 1st kilometre plunges down but it's also the very last uphill that you have to literally climb. The pace is also interesting because you need to choose a pace between 5K and 10K pace but also keep your heart rate in check in light of the two hills (one at midpoint, one at the very end). I've not even close to mastered this race but I think this is my game plan.

1. Be aggressive: This is a tuneup race for the marathon so I have to use it as a measure of fitness. No time for an easy or LT run. Try to pace it at 10K speed (4:10K pace) at minimum.

2. Attack the hills: Plunge downhill and take the last hill with everything I've got. Last week's Around the Bay was great practice.

3. Stay strong in the middle. Picture my track intervals and strides. This is time they pay off.

That's it.

Here's a Garmin link to my 2014 running of the runoff. I think it shows how a typical race will happen. Fast kilometres: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7. Slower ones: 3, 4, 8.

If you are looking for overall pace strategy, I would recommend you think about what your 10K time is and that could be how you'll end up with this 8K race.

For those looking for blow-by-blow strategy (I know, cause some of you have been searching it and have landed on my site), here is a recap of 'tips' on how to run the 8K put together by the fine folks at the Run-Off. It's not easy to find on the site or on Google so I'll point to it here

Start to 2K
Just after the 1km mark, as you pass Bloor Street entrance, you get your first treat, as you plunge DOWN Spring Road. Remember to lean forward a little and keep your arms down… that way your momentum will carry you and you'll conserve effort. It's fun, falling downhill as you did as a kid.
2K to 4K

Nice and easy along the remainder of Spring Road and you're ready for your first uphill (there are only 2 on the course, and 2 good downhills). That's Centre Road, at 3km.
4K to 6K
Around the bottom of the park you go, checking your form, working to stay smooth and relax. After 6km you start to wend your way back up to the Finish and the second uphill, the famous Spring Road rise that you came down at the mile.
The end
Remember Spring Road at the mile? The one you charged down thinking of Mike Dyon and his 4:16 and Eamonn Martin and his 4:10..? Well, all you have to do is get up this thing and you're done! It's the most famous, legendary part of the Spring Run Off and you want to remember and savour it all.


Sonia said...

I hope it went according to plan! =)

Arcane said...

Holy crap. I didn't realize I literally finished right behind you. You beat me in chip time by 0.2 seconds. Good seeing you guys again!

yumke said...

Sonia, it did indeed go to plan!

Fran, good seeing you and it was uncanny we finished at the same time!

Unknown said...

This will be my first 8k. I must be crazy!

Unknown said...

This will be my first 8k. I must be crazy!

Unknown said...

This will be my first 8k. I must be crazy!