Categorized | Race Info, Tips

Race analysis – can it help you plan your race?

Posted on 03 April 2010

Ahead of this year’s Namibian Ultra marathon I wanted to see if I could draw some conclusions for how to plan my race by looking at previous year’s results.

I looked at each stage and the average speed, and I think I uncovered some good tips that I will take with me to the race this year.

It is very clear for me that by looking at these graphs I should not go above 8km/h in the first stage, it will just kill me quicker. Instead I will go slow during the first stages, with the mental attitude to pick up pace once the heat of the day is gone and we go into the night.

Here are the stats for 2008 (all speed is in km/h):

Stage 1 – 5.78
Stage 2 – 5.38
Stage 3 – 5.30
Stage 4 – 5.11
Stage 5 – 6.18
Stage 6 – 5.38

Everyone had picked up time between 4 – 5 only to drop again 5 – 6.

General trend is to start out high and decrease the pace each stage 2, 3, 4 only to pick up on stage 5 to blow up and go slow for the last stage (#6)

Looking at the curve it was a very homogeneous group all together, except Tom who followed the same pattern, but averaged about 2km/h more than the rest of us.

When it comes to 2009 we have more data, since we have in and out times of each of the check points, so the data cannot be compared with 2008, since the data only shows check-in times for each of the check points.

So for 2009 I have taken out the time spent on the check points and only looked at the actual time on the move between each check point:

Stage 0.5 – 9.11
Stage 1 – 4.83
If we add Stage 0.5 and 1 together, the average is 6.97
Stage 2 – 6.00
Stage 3 – 6.10
Stage 4 – 5.60
Stage 5 – 7.20
Stage 6 – 6.83

We can see that the pattern is exactly the same, start fast and then go slower for stage 2,3,4, increase for stage 5 only to crash on stage 6. It seems quite clear that the pace that some nutter with a big hat put down the first kilometer had a very bad impact on the race with almost 50% of us dropping out! Not putting it down to my sprint the first 5 minutes, but I can say I wont make the same mistake again, that is for sure!

However there are four exceptions in 2009:
Darren pretty much increased from stage 2 and onwards.
Tom did an impressive pick-up in speed stage 5 and then again stage 6.
Helen did a similar pick-up in stage 5 and stage 6, almost doubled her speed!
Nick picked up stage 5, and increased further for stage 6.

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