Hills. Heat. Humidity.
If you live in Atlanta, you know what I am talking about. You also probably love Atlanta Braves baseball. Why not run a 5K hosted by the Atlanta Track Club around the Braves baseball stadium and finish up on the field? Sounds like fun, right? It is fun, but you are in store for a southern-style dosage of Hills, Heat, and Humidity.
Now, always be careful from whom you take advice! I live in Atlanta and have run the Braves 5K. My best time was 19:28 (43 out of 2,889) compared to my 5K PR of 18:55. It's a challenging course! No elite runner here, but I have gained some valuable experience that I will pass along.
The course starts fast. In the below course profile, you can see that you hurtle downhill at up to a -10% grade. You navigate rollers through Mile 1 before encountering your first hill approaching the mile marker. Hill #1 averages a 5% incline for around 400 meters, clawing back all the elevation loss from the start.
You can fly for the next 1.3 miles. After cresting Hill #1, it's a steady and fast downhill through mile 2 towards the halfway point approaching Mile 3. To be fast at the Braves Country 5K, you have to gain time during this stretch. Once you approach 2.5 miles, you climb back to the finish line. Hill #2 is a steep 7% climb with little recovery before slamming into another 5% grade on Hill #3. You are at your finishing elevation, but you will undulate for the final 300 meters over a 4% and 6% pitch to the finish line.
Now that you know what you are facing, here's a sample workout to specifically train for the Braves Country 5K using a treadmill to simulate the terrain.
Atlanta Braves Country 5K Hills - Workout Simulation:
- Warm up as you would before a race, including strides
- Mile 1: 0% incline for 0.5 miles, 1% for 0.25 miles, then Hill #1 at 5% incline for final 0.25 miles
- Mile 2: 0% (or negative 2-3% if your treadmill allows) at a faster than goal 5K pace
- Hill #2: 7% incline for 0.2 miles followed by 0.1-mile recovery
- Hill #3: 5% incline for 0.1 miles, followed by 0.1-mile recovery
- Sprint to the 5K finish at 2-3% incline to train to run hard over the final elevation pitches
Best wishes on chasing your Atlanta Braves Country 5K running goals!
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