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Strava & Treadmill Race Course Reconnaissance

Posted by George Parker on
Strava & Treadmill Race Course Reconnaissance

Armed with Strava and a Treadmill, you can prepare for the terrain of an upcoming race. Here’s how


Today on the five minute warm up, I want to talk about something I do when I'm preparing for a race.

I use a treadmill a lot, I enjoy it, it works for my particular lifestyle. When I'm preparing for a race, I normally always have a map of the upcoming route course coming up. This is a map of the California International Marathon. I mark all the key segments and hills. As I'm running on the treadmill, I pretend that I'm actually following the race course. I will adjust the incline to match the different points of the course. I feel like it always helps because I can internalize spots that are hard.

For instance, in the California International Marathon, there is a segment in the beginning where there's rolling hills, and a lot of people forget that because the net course is downhill. The first 16 miles, I think, are really some of the hardest parts. I will practice those hilly segments in the beginning, so that I'm not surprised when the course actually comes in.

In particular, there's a section between miles seven, up to mile, eight and a half where there is a water station, which is it's basically uphill the whole time. On my treadmill, I practice running that 2% to 3% grade for a mile and a half at a marathon pace. I'm not surprised when I get to mile seven.

Here's how I create these maps. In Strava, what I do is I go up here to the search box, and I type in the race course that I'm about to run. Here's the California International Marathon. I go to segments, and then I search.  When you do that, you're going to get a list of a bunch of Strava segments. It pulls up all the details of the course and then here is that elevation map.

With this elevation map, you can print it out or copy it put into PowerPoint, and then you can go through manually and look at these sections. Right here is mile 7.3 that was talking about and you can see the grade is basically flat and then over the next mile up to this age station right around here at the top of the hill. You can see the elevation change and so you can manually calculate that change.

Give check it out on Strava. Print the map and you can practice on a treadmill. If you do a little bit of course recon ahead of time, even practice drinking at where the points of the aid stations are, it will be a big benefit to you on race day.

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