Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekly training recap and CIM elevation data

Friday called for a nice simple base run:

Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR Avg Cadence YPB
1 1.00 10:09 109 128 86 1.591
2 1.00 9:43 118 129 86 1.535
3 1.00 10:02 114 124 85 1.539
4 1.00 9:48 115 124 86 1.562
5 0.86 10:09 117 122 85 1.484
Summary 4.86 9:58 114 129 85 1.550

This run felt pretty good considering the earlier speedy work during the week

Saturday I was supposed to cross train for 40 min and do weights, but I was busy and also still having some nasal congestion so I decided to have rest day

Sunday was called out to be a progression run, i.e. do 6 miles at base and then speed up
each mile for 12 miles until running at HM pace. The nasal crud is still there but better each day a tiny bit. Doesn't seem to bother me too much though:

Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR Cad YPB
 1 1.00 9:40 112 153 85 1.626
 2 1.00 9:46 115 120 85 1.567
 3 1.00 10:03 117 133 85 1.497
 4 1.00 9:41 116 120 85 1.567
 5 1.00 9:37 116 122 84 1.575
 6 1.00 9:59 118 125 84 1.494
 7 1.00 9:30 124 128 85 1.494
 8 1.00 9:20 130 138 86 1.451
 9 1.00 9:03 128 135 87 1.519
 10 1.00 8:52 134 138 87 1.481
 11 1.00 8:41 139 142 88 1.458
 12 1.00 8:25 143 147 88 1.462
 13 0.01 8:29 144 145 88 1.222
Summary 12.01 9:23 124 153 86 1.512

This run felt really particular I enjoyed splits 9-10-11 where I was really in the zone and going fast. (for me). 

You'll notice I added a column to my data called "YPB" or yards per beat. This is a calculation of how many yards I travel for each beat of the heart. It's a metric of running economy that mushes together pace and HR so you can have a single number as your metric. 

I have used this before and it's very handy for seeing small improvements month to month.

5 runs, 36 miles for the week, 8 miles of it at <9m/m pace
10 weeks to CIM (california international marathon)


I did some study of the CIM elevation profile. Many people have warned that it has a lot of small ups and downs and not just the 340' drop from start to finish.  For example, there's a little 80' steep climb at about mile 11 you can see above.

Alas, the website does not show the total up and total down the way most trail races do, but I found the data over here.

start 357'    gain 243'   loss -552'    net loss -309   finish 48'

Comparing that to my garmin data for my other marathons this is the least hilly race so far. 

Surf City was pretty darn flat but was about 300' of up/down. Copenhagen (which is also "flat") has some minor bumps in it that add up to 600' of up/down to the Garmin. Napa Valley marathon is point to point and  has a similar total drop to CIM, but has over 800' of up/down on the way in small hills. 

And lest you think "Yes, but that's Garmin elevation, which is terrible noisy data", yes, the watch's notion of elevation is very poor..but after you upload to Garmin connect it is vastly improved.

Garmin does elevation corrections as of a while ago...what they do is take your lat/long position (which is very accurate) and reference the topographic data that was gathered by the shuttle on a mission many years ago (SRTM-3 data). This mission did very high resolution radar mapping of elevation at a very fine I believe the Garmin numbers  are pretty darn good. 

For example, they show the expected drop from start to finish for Napa within a few feet.

(One spectacular place were the shuttle data fails for garmin is the bridge deck of the GG bridge...this was filtered out of the data (it's too small in width) and so you get a bizzare graph like this:

At about mile 5 you climb a hill to the bridge deck and then: SPLASH!, the graph shows you jumping into the water..swimming to the turnaround observation point where you climb a cliff run round it for about a mile and then jump in again and swim back, etc. Pretty crazy vertical slopes there 8)
This data also won't know about tunnels and such, and in a very heavy tree canopy it might have problems too.

Anyway, more than you probably wanted  to know...the upshot is that I think CIM is a very good course...yes, some hills but not many and twice more down than up. A little bit of hills is good for using slightly different muscles: remember that any glycogen or fats stored in muscles you don't use is of NO use during the marathon.

Coach Jill is off running a trail half marathon this week..we wonder how that went?


  1. Nice long run, Mr. P, love those perfectly hit progression runs. You are awesome!

    You're going to know where every single inch of elevation gain is come CIM...I like it :).

    Hope that nasal stuff goes away soon for good! I was running over at the state park near my house on Friday and thought my sinuses were going to explode, my allergies are at an all-time max right now. UGH!

    Jill's trail race went well, despite the fact she bit it at mile 10 and struggled after, but overall a great - fun - race. Will fire up a report soon :).

  2. Nice week's training. I've run two downhill marathons here in SA and although they are both quite fast, they are certainly not easy. My best time was not run on one of the downhill marathons.

  3. Nice analysis of the CIM course! Like you say I think having some hills during the race actually helps your body because you aren't always using the same muscles that you would use if you were doing a perfectly flat marathon course (Chicago for example). Hopefully next year I'll be able to give CIM a shot.

    Not sure if you follow Runners Rambles, but she had some great CIM recaps on her site - she has done it 3 years in a row. Might be useful to read them prior to race day to get any more tips about the course.

  4. @jill: yah thanks. You did pretty well yourself..except for the ground-pounding ;)

    @johann: Yes, it's that much downhill though so I think it will be ok..I'll do some long downhill runs too.

    @nelly: thanks for that link! Super useful to read about the course.

  5. OH no have I been whining? Nothing like a good race to at least hide that no mojo running thing behind your back.

  6. I'm trying to decide between CIM $105 and zombierunner trail marathon $60. I don't really need another flat and fast road marathon this year (BQ'd at Modesto Marathon in March). I want a 26 mile training course in december, not a PR course, so I guess I answered my own question. Last year my friend did the half in the rain, she said conditions pretty much sucked but the race was fine. I will finish reading your race report then decide. Btw, if you're looking for a marathon training group check out RunningAddicts on FB.


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