Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Devil O' the Highlands : Even Effort Splits

I'll be running the 2016 Devil O' Highlands ultra marathon this weekend with the goal of completing not only this race but the "Triple Crown" of completing all three ultra-marathons on the West Highland Way Route in one year.

This post provide "Even Effort Splits" for the DOH race for my own purposes but also extrapolated to faster and slower pace ranges to help elites through to tail enders know what type of splits might be possible.  "Even Effort Splits" are a bit like even paced splits for a marathon but adapted for the particular topography of the race by utilizing actual race splits obtained on the route and is roughly obtained by maintaining a even heart rate throughout the race.

To obtain the splits for the 2016 DOH race I've used Donnie Campbell's 2015 DOH splits, when he came joint first with Casey Morgan, as a base adapting the leg % to even out the effort level.  From the average HR data for each leg that Strava reports you can tell how hard Donnie was pushing, legs like Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe his average HR was 172, vs the average 165 for the whole race, so to even things out I've slowed this leg to the time he would likely have done had he run it at around his average of 165.  Legs with a lower average HR I've sped up a little.  The final splits actually at most shift by 3 minutes slower or faster so Donnie was actually pretty close to run even effort splits to start with.  How little I had to adjust shows off how well judged Donnie's pacing was, and also means that any errors in adapting these splits will be minimal.

To double check the splits I also compared the split % of my 2013 DOH race (my report) when I finished really strongly and was able to maintain my HR in a target range through the race, my race splits come in within a couple of minutes of the computed even effort splits.  I was chuffed to bits with how my 2013 race went and how well pacing by HR range worked out, the fact they tally so well to Donnie's is nice bonus, I don't have Donnie's great racing legs and brain but I've been able to replicate some of his natural talent for judging pace by using HR monitor.

So on to the splits, I've groped them into finish time bands of 1:30hr range, print off the one that contains your target finishing time.

Splits for 5hrs to 11:30hrs finishing times

Personal goals for the Devil 2016

Training has been minimal to say the least in the build up to the this years Devil race, principally down to having to gently re-introduce training whilst trying to give a heal couple of post West Highland Way injuries - metarsalgia in my left foot and weak right knee.  Since the WHWR in June the longest training run I've done is a 8 miler, making do with 3 to 4 milers, adding a few hills or speed intervals to maintain aerobic fitness despite the low weekly mileage.

Ramping up to a hilly 43 miler from just an 8 miler is a bit risky. I know my aerobic fitness is fine - I did a 19 minute 5k race last Saturday, but structural resilience, particularly with my right knee is going to be my biggest challenge.  I'd dearly love to complete the Triple Crown so will walk it in if I have to.

Based on my aerobic fitness I think I'm in the shape to do around a 7hr DOH, but as my lack of mileage and a still carrying a bit of injury I suspect the descents will be down by week point.  I'll take the descents nice and easy right form the start and hope that I can nurse then along to the finish.

I'll pace by HR zone once again, aiming for an average HR of 155, with a range between 150 and 160.  If it does look like my knees will be a big problem then I'll shift this HR range down 5 or 10 bpm to lower the pace and stress on the body.

Best of luck everyone!

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