The Peachtree Road Race is a net downhill course. Meaning you are running more downhill than up. Usually the heat and humidity doesn't make it feel like much of advantage. However, if run properly you might just make it out ok even on a hot day.
Mile 1: Get out & Watch Out!
At the start, you should get out slightly aggressive to not get trampled to death. After the first ¼ mile you should settle into a decent pace. The first mile should be run only slightly faster than goal pace since it is pretty much flat.
Mile 2-3: Control thyself
Most of the next 2 miles are flat or slightly downhill. You should resist the urge to push the pace too hard at this point. The downhill section is deceiving and is taking more out of your legs than you are aware. Ideally, you should be no faster than 10-20 seconds faster than your goal pace at the 3-mile mark.
Mile 4-5: The Race really begins
This is when the race really begins. Just before the 3-mile mark, the hills begin. The hills at Peachtree are essentially a series of “steps” all the way to the High Museum and the 5-mile mark. Of course, the most famous hill is Cardiac Hill, which itself is a two-pitch doozy up past Piedmont Hospital (on your right). However, most forget that you still have 2 more hills before you have any respite. Once past Cardiac Hill, most are lulled into a false sense of wellbeing until they cross I-85 and the Amtrak Station (on your right). That is where the Amtrak Hill lies in wait. It gradually eases up and curves right. Once this hill is crested one has a short flat (and even a bit of downhill) section before the last hill. The High Museum Hill is a long straight affair that seems to never end. It is not steep by any means but if you are struggling, get ready to struggle a little more.
If you have run the first half of the race correctly you should be able to “surge” up this hilly section. Most of the time, you simply maintain your pace you do not actually speed up. Maintaining is a good thing, since most slow down during this section.
Mile 6: The Finish
After the High Museum hill and the 5-mile mark you basically have a flat section all the way to 10th Street. Once you make the left turn onto 10th Street, you have a rolling downhill jaunt to the finish. However, you should resist the urge to sprint your guts out. At this point, you still have about 1000 meters (over a half a mile) to the finish! So, plan your final dash accordingly.
Good luck and see you at the Phidippides After Party!
is an Atlanta area runner and coach.
One of the biggest issues I see with runners is a lack of pacing abilities. If you are the type that runs races and always seems to fade or slow down considerably during the latter stages of the event, this article is for you. READ MORE!
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