With nearly 22000 marathon runners participating in the TWCM, it is time to take a quick dive into the planning of your race says Guest Columnist and runner, Raghul Trekker.
The race is going to be a lot technical with North East monsoon blowing heavy winds. Hopefully, the below helps you plan your pacing strategy.
The first 5 km of the race is the same for each race category.
The first 2 km is towards the north of the city (towards Madhya Kailash). The wind is going to be at its best. If you are at the middle of the pack, you might find some advantage closely running behind others. If you are at the front, it is best not to fight the wind, only to find yourself burnt out half way through the course.
2nd km to 5th km: you are going to enjoy the course mainly because of the wind. By this time, even if you were behind the lead pack, the crowd would be scattered by then and you can peacefully run through. Remember to run this part faster by some 15-20 second than your target pace in min/km.
10 km Course
5th km to 7th km: the winds are going to be fairly neutral, however you will get an advantage of 5-10 s/km while running west (towards Velachery) and a disadvantage of 5-10 s/km while running east (towards Holiday Inn).
7th to 9th km: you should have the best split of your race. The adrenaline should be high as you get closer to the finish line. The last km of the race is going to be against winds. However, the final km is going to be in a narrow stretch with the buildings obscuring the gust to an extent.
5th to 8th km: the winds are going to be fairly neutral, however you will get an advantage of 5-10 s/km while running west (towards Velachery) and a disadvantage of 5-10 s/km while running east (towards Holiday Inn). It will be ideal to stick around your target race pace during this 3 km stretch.
8th to 12th km: you are going to have the best split of your race. If you don’t utilize the tail winds (winds that push you from behind) in this stretch, you are going to miss your PB. Just enjoy running this part of the course but don’t forget to consume your gel and electrolyte.
12th to 18th km: you are going to run through the Pallikaranai marsh land, a stenchful area. Don’t forget to cover your face using a cloth. If possible wear your coolers, you are not going to like the insect attack. This part of the course can mentally affect your race.
If you can endure the stench for the first 5 min, you will get accustomed to it in the rest of this stretch. The wind is going to be similar to the 5th to 8th km stretch although the advantage (towards Pallikaranai) and disadvantage (towards Thoraipakkam) will be around 10 s/km.
The last 3 km are going to be against head wind. You would probably be running 15-20 s/km slower than your target pace but don’t fret because you would have gained a lot in the initial part of your race if you were smart enough to utilize it.
From 5th to 7th km: the winds are going to be fairly neutral, however you will get an advantage of 5 s/km. The 8th km is going to be fast for you with tail winds and the 9th km will suck a lot of energy from you. From 9th km to 11th km, you will have to conserve some energy by slowing down 5 s/km.
From 11th to 15th and 21st to 27th, these stretches constituting 10 km are going to very fast with good tail winds. Not to forget your hydration and energy gels or ultra-butter.
You guys are going to run twice through the Pallikaranai Marsh lands, which will constitute 12 km totally. Throughout this stretch you might need to cover your face and wear coolers to escape the insect attack.
From 15th to 18th km and 33rd to 36th km, you might get a slight advantage of 5 to 10 s/km but similarly you will have the same as disadvantage on 18th km to 21st km and 36th to 39th km stretches.
The toughest time of your race is going to be between 27th & 33rd km and between 39th km & finish where the head winds are going to drain you of energy from your already tired body. Use all the aid stations and stock yourself up with some energy gels or ultra-butter.
Plan your hydration and energy intake well in advance. A well-planned pace and hydration strategy is a half-completed race. All the best for the weekend. Bring your Personal Best.