Bestzeiten/Personal best:

Bestzeiten/Personal best
10 km: 42 min 53 sec (2011) *** 21,1 km: 1h 37min 35sec (2009) *** 42,2 km: 3h 30min 33sec (2009) ***
56 km (Two Oceans):
4h 54min 00sec (2011) *** 89 km (Comrades uphill): 8h 49min (2015)

Dienstag, 26. März 2013

How to run a Sub 6h Two Oceans Ultra Marathon

In 2012 I had the privilege of being an official pace setter for the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56 km) with the goal of finishing just under 6 hours (Two Oceans Ultra 2012 Review)

It took me quite some time to calculate the right strategy and make it work for runners who are just ready running the necessary pace. Since my personal best from 2011 is a 4h 54min, I had to adjust my own strategy.

And it did work - we finished in 5h 51min.

For all runners, especially the novices or everyone aspiring a sub 6 h run, this is the strategy I used and that did work so well:

km mark time
10 0 h 59 min
20 1 h 57 min
28 2 h 43 min
33.5 3 h 21 min
37 3 h 41 min
42 4 h 12 min
46 4 h 48 min
56 5 h 51 min

Why did I use this strategy?

As you can see, on the first 28 km we are just a little bit faster than a 6 min/km pace.
If you just look at the numbers for the race, a 6min 16 sec/km would be sufficient for a sub 6h.

This would be right, if the race would be flat. But it is NOT FLAT.
And since the hardest part comes after the marathon mark, you need to win some time on the first half of the race. Otherwise, if you start with the 6:16 pace right from the start, you will not make it in time, because the hills will cost you too much time.

The most important two sections are the Chapmans Peak (from 33 km) and Constantia Nek (from 42 km).

I used this strategy for those two make or break parts of the race:

Chapmans Peak:
It's about 4 km long, consisting of a short uphill, a downhill and a longer uphill section. The overall pace for this section should be around 7min/km. So you can run slowly uphill and run smooth during the short downhill section. Remember: I'm still talking about the uphill part of Chapmans Peak.

Chapmans Peak is also key on the downhill. There is one rule:


The pace on the Chappie downhill should be not faster than 5:45 min/km. Even if you feel that you could run faster, DO NOT RACE DOWNHILL.Because the few seconds you might win here will cost you minutes on Constantia Nek.

Constantia Nek:
Just after reaching the Marathon mark, the race begins. The uphill to Constantia Nek is a 4 km winding road and many lost their Personal Best here, because they were not prepared for it.

Due to the good work in being a bit faster in the first half gives you the absolute freedom and pleasure of  WALKING UP Constantia Nek completely.
Just after the Marathon mark you will find an ondulating route and as soon as the real hill starts, this strategy becomes fun, at about 43.5 km.

Walk with a pace of some 9 min /km. Therefore the uphill section will not be as exhausting - it will rather give you the opportunity to regain some energy. Yes!

When you are on top of Constantia Nek, there are about 10 km to go. According to the strategy you will be on top after some 4h 48 min or so.

Do not think you can race home now! Run smooth and with a pace of about 6 - 6min 20/km.

The last 10 km are ondulating and with 3 km to go you will hit the last uphill part. And you should walk the 200 - 300m uphill again.

And then, just enjoy the final stretch and get that bronze medal...

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