Indeed, what goes up, will invariably come down and that could just be the problem.
The latest incarnation of the Sheffield Half Marathon, the Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon, sees 7,500 runners toeing the start line tomorrow morning on what promises to be a pretty tough course. Sheffield is renowned for its hills, its location to the edge of the Peak District and the number of Park Runs hosted by the City. So all in all it should be a cracking run as each of these aspects are covered.
For many a runner it will be the challenge of this course and few are expecting a PB. Oh don’t get me wrong, I am sure many will record their best times on the roads of Sheffield, but is it really that slow a course? Technically yes. But with a little thinking and race planning you may just surprise yourself. Those running around 90 minutes will find themselves around 2 or so minutes down on what they would expect from a flat course. At 2-hours it will approach 5 minutes plus, 10 minutes or more for those who are not so well prepared. So how do you approach a run of this nature?
It really is about taking your time. The route climbs out of the city centre to just above Ringinglow, at the Norfolk Arms public house. The pub for many will appear to be the summit, in truth there is a final kicker as you reach around 51/2 to 6 miles. Then it is mostly downhill, although for many this will only be the start of the problems. Regardless of the ‘free fall’ and the relief of summiting the climb, half way has barely been reached. So the trick for the first 8 miles is not to get carried away.
If it was me I would be looking for an easy run to and through Ringinglow, oh don’t get me wrong here either, I would be looking to be putting some effort in, yet there would still be plenty in the tank for the downhill and then the final run-in along Eccelesall Road. I Would be easing into the descent, only gradually letting the brakes off, very much waiting for the steepest part of the descent to be behind me. Many are expecting the climb to be the hardest part of the race, yet will probably find come Monday morning that it was the descent that has left them feeling sore and battered. Once through Dore it is definitely a case of either hanging on to the finish or if you have been sensible a matter of picking up the effort for a strong finish and using the crowds to spur you on.
So What Goes up, does come down but don’t let this be your downfall.
If you are reading this and running tomorrow, regardless of your race plan, enjoy the day, the views across the City and the cheers on the final run in. Good Luck!