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Pace Cards

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John Vomastic:
Pace Cards
When you run a flatland marathon, it easy to figure how you are progressing by checking your time at each of the mile markers.  On the PPA it's more difficult because of the varying terrain or slope between check points.  Matt Carpenter has a Pace calculator to aid in that.

Read the Warnings, unless you have a VO2max like Matt or have done extensive high altitude training, you WILL LOSE TIME on the later legs based on Matt's calculator/chart.  A Pace card is particularly important if this is your first PPA and you have a relatively slow qualifying time.  There are cutoff points in the race (3:00 at Barr Camp 7.6 miles and 4:15 at A-Frame ) and you have to finish under 6:30 to earn a medal and a shirt. 

I use the 5:30 pace to track my progress.  It will get you to Barr Camp 12 minutes before the cutoff and 20 minutes before the cutoff at A-Frame.  I usually finish with a time of 5:40 to 6:00.  The pace card gives  me the needed feedback in the points prior to Barr Camp if I need to increase my effort or if I can relax a bit.

Below is a link to a photo of my double sided pace card.  I have a laminator, but you could also use clear package tape.  Some people tape the card to their water bottle, while others make a wristband.  I carry my card in one of the pockets of my RaceReady shorts.  Some people include two finish times on the card.  I have added a few more points to Matt's.  If you do a practice PPA, Bob's Road Aid Station and the Cirque Aid Station will not be visible on the course.

Seth Jayson:
In case the pacecard thing I created, by stealing and formatting John's and Matt's good info, gets lost in that other thread.
Here, you can enter your target ascent time and get a custom pace card to laminate as a card, wristband, or for your bottle (where I taped mine last year).


Seth Jayson:
John (and Matt) have forgotten more about this race than I'll ever know. I figured that I'd throw in my 2 cents as the greenhorn creator of that pace card, which is based on the splits they've described. Plan versus reality, in other words.

I targeted a 3:15 ascent for the front half of the marathon last year, and I got there in about 3:17. (3:17:43, according to the results page.) I had little in the way of altitude or high altitude training: one "ultra" 28 mile marathon up to 10,000 feet in Switzerland, and a few weeks of sleeping in an altitude tent at a simulated altitude of 14,000 ft. My climb training was mostly 8-10 mile treadmill runs at 15%, with one treadmill simulation. Trail training was some Virginia trail races, which have trails about as gnarly, or a worse, than Barr.

I was a little bit ahead of the pace card until Barr Camp or so, and a little bit behind it the rest of the way up. The altitude is definitely a beast, and unfortunately we don't know what our response will be until we're in it. There are people with high V02 max values that get clobbered much worse than others. From everything I've read (and I've pulled a lot of the research on running and altitude trying to figure out if that altitude tent is nothing but an expensive placebo) the reaction to altitude is highly individual, and variable even then.

I think it's definitely much better to be conservative in the front half. Whenever you get stuck in a conga line and feel yourself getting frustrated, instead turn it around and be thankful that you're having a conservative pace imposed on you for a while. (This, at least, is how I've learned to cope.)

There's plenty of time and space further up if you've really got the extra. I found out, I didn't have that extra. :o

I used to create custom pace bands based on the the calculator on skyrunner.  I just asked them to modify for landmarks instead of mile markers. They were super helpful!

Seth Jayson:
Cool. Whatever works.

Hasn't corrupted in quite a while. So it's still good to go.


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