Guest Columnist and runner, Raghul Trekker gives you the best strategy to approach the Tata Steel Kolkata 25km race.
The City of Joy presents a unique running event to the running community in India with the TATA Steel Kolkatta 25k marathon to be held on Dec 17, 2017. Here is a course strategy that will help you reach the finish line in good time.
Steer your course right
This time of the year is best suitable for a race at Kolkata. If you haven’t scored your Personal Best for the year yet, this is your best chance. The forecast looks ideal for the race morning with a temperature of 15-20 °C range, mild winds of 6 km/h to cool you down and humidity ideal for running at 58 % approx.
Now that the weather is on your side, it is time you plan your race day strategy in accordance with the race course. Did you know that you can save or lose nearly a minute while navigating yourself on the race course? However, some people lose more than a minute and some lose the podium thereby losing the race literally.
25 km course
7 U-turns, 9 sharp left/right turns and 18 mild curves
10 km course
5 U-turns, 4 sharp left/right turns and 6 mild curves
In a track race, runners run close to the inner most boundary of their lanes or the inner most lane itself in the longer lane-general races like 800 m & above distances. The reason for running closer to the lane boundary is to reduce some distance in comparison to a runner who doesn’t follow this and thereby gaining an advantage. In a 400 metre track, you can cut up to 1 m (=399 m) by running too close to the boundary. If you ever wondered why the commentators would have mentioned that the position of the inner most runner an advantageous one over the others is for the above reason. However, this is only for a track race longer than 400 m because there are separate lanes for 400 m race or below.
Having understood the importance of running close to the inner most boundary, implementing the same concept or the opposite on a road race is very important. Even well comprehended runners, approach the curve from a wrong end and result in running a few extra metre. Knowing the course well can help you plan a shorter race by some 10s/100s of metre than the stipulated 25/10 km.
While running around a U-turn the best thing is to approach it from the longer end, cut close to the inner end at the turn and complete the turn by running towards the outer edge. This is the opposite approach as to what is followed in a track run where the curve is too long. I have noticed some pro runners committing the mistake of running close to inner/shorter end on a U-turn in the expectation of saving some distance. It is important to note here that the deceleration and acceleration of any machine would cause more energy expenditure than while running at a constant speed. This mistake can be noted more in a U-turn or in an acute curve.
A sharp right/left curve can be made into a mild curve by using the above U-turn type of formula (approaching from outer edge and end up on outer edge after the curve). There will absolutely be no need to decelerate nor accelerate while running a bit longer on a sharp 90 ° angle. The extra distance might be just a metre but the energy saved can make your race rather than breaking the race by deceleration & acceleration which might as well cause cramp or unnecessary excess fatigue.
A mild curve can be classified into two types,
- Short mild curve
- Long mild curve
Short mild curve: This category is one in which you can see the road straightening after the curve. You can totally ignore curving on this by running straight from outer end to outer end while cutting close to the curve’s inner end.
Long mild curve: In this category, you cannot see the road beyond the curve. This is when you have to run on the inner most end like in a track.
One more important thing is to look at least a 100 metre ahead of you while running. This can help you run diagonally when necessary and avoid crowds of runners at some points of the race.
Now that you have basic ideas on how to reduce distance and/or avoid fatigue & cramps from the above concepts, it is good to look into the map of your race course and chart out a plan.
All the best while steering your ship to victory