Blog

Sept. 24, 2019

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is a must for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first REVEL race and your goal is simply to finish, or you are REVEL veteran aiming for a PR or BQ, you should have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the Big Bear course!

The head coach of REVEL’s Online Coaching Program, who has run a Boston Qualifier in all the REVEL marathons he has run, has prepared this detailed description of the Big Bear Marathon and Half-Marathon courses.

Managing the Course Based on Segments

A critical component of your race strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit?

You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

Generally, the Big Bear Marathon course can be divided into six sections:

Miles 1-2: The Warm Up

Miles 3-4: Slower But Steady, Get Up and Down

Miles 5-9: Rolling Downhill

Miles 10-13: Pick Up Speed

Miles 14-20: Accelerate

Miles 21-26.2: Fast Finish

Similarly, the Big Bear Half-Marathon course can be divided into three sections:

Miles 1-4: Very Fast Start

Miles 5-9: Settle In

Miles 10-13.1: Coasting In

You can study the courses yourself on the REVEL website. You can zoom in, use the interactive elevation chart, and get a feel for what lays ahead of you on race day.

If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy.

The marathon and half-marathon courses are summarized below based on the segments described above.

The Marathon Course

Miles 1-2: The Warm Up

Starting at 6,630’ elevation, the first 2 miles of the course are almost straightaway, with very gradual turns and an elevation loss of 326’ total. Overall, this opening 2-mile segment is one of the more gradual downhill segments of the entire course. You want to approach this as a nice “warm up” to the miles ahead, and you should resist the urge to chase other runners if they pass you. You want to start the race by easing into your own pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace. You should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Miles 3-4: Slower But Steady, Get Up and Down

Miles 3 and 4 of the course are a series of up and down sections that, overall, result in -38’ of elevation for the 2-mile leg. After the opening “Warm Up” section that is mostly downhill, you almost certainly will be aware of your pace slowing and your level of effort increasing on the climbs here. This is where you will run slightly slower than your first two miles, but still can maintain a steady level of effort as you work your way uphill and downhill for two miles.

This is a segment where you really do not want to concern yourself with runners passing you on climbs. It is easy in a race to get caught up with the pace of other runners. You still have many miles to go, and you want to conserve your energy for the miles ahead. With that in mind, pay attention to your own level of effort: if you feel yourself working too hard on the climbs, then simply slow down.

Miles 5-9: Rolling Downhill

This is where you will begin to build speed. As you pass mile 4, you will begin a series of small rolling hills that, overall, lose 502’ of elevation. You will encounter small, short climbs here and there during this section, but they are minor in comparison to the overall elevation loss.

If you are keeping tabs on your splits every mile or every few miles at marked intervals, don’t be surprised to see that you are running slightly ahead of your goal pace on the downhills. This is where gravity is your friend, and the downhill profile of the marathon course will benefit you significantly.

At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast” downhill. If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down. But be mindful that it is expected for you to be ahead of goal pace during these downhill segments of the race.

Likewise, don’t push yourself on the climbs. They are short, and you gain very little by increasing your level of effort to sustain a faster pace while climbing. Once you get past this section, the course starts to get much faster, and you want to conserve your energy for the speedy downhill sections ahead.

Miles 10-13: Pick Up Speed

This is where you will start to really gain speed running downhill.

If you have “held back” your downhill speed for the first 9 miles, while managing the minor climbs along the way, you should expect to be very close to your goal splits up to this part of the race, and probably slightly behind (slower than) your target splits. Your legs should feel strong, warmed-up, and ready for the supremely fast latter half of the race.

Just past mile 9, the course begins steadily dropping mile after mile. For the first time since mile 1, you will start to see elevation losses well more than 200’ per mile. Start turning on the speed here, but don’t get too enthusiastic just yet. As you approach the second half of the course, think of these “last 4 of the first half” as an appetizer for main menu ahead.

Miles 14-20: Accelerate

The REVEL Big Bear Marathon course will give you an opportunity to start “turning on the speed” at the halfway mark. The elevation at mile 13 is 4,770’. By mile 20, where the elevation is 2,658’, you will have lost over 2,100’ in a 7-mile stretch. That is an average of more than 300’ per mile. More importantly, there are no noticeable climbs anywhere in this stretch. It is one long, sustained, fast downhill section.

This 7-mile section is where your race is made. Instead of the usual “struggle” to maintain pace in the third quarter of a marathon, miles 14-20 of Big Bear are where you will find yourself running faster than expected. Keep churning out the miles with a sense of free-flowing, efficient, downhill speed. By the time you get to mile 20, you can expect to be right on your target split, if not well ahead of it.

Miles 21-26.2: Fast Finish

The last 10K of the marathon course is a continuation of the long, sustained downhill section that began way back at mile 13. Even better, the downhill in the closing 6.2 miles is less severe than the earlier segments, which is easier on tired legs. The final 6.2 miles of the course lose 1,100’, or an average of roughly 180’ per mile. This is a comfortable downhill section, and you should be able to sustain your goal pace throughout the final 10K.

Summary of the Marathon Course

The Big Bear Marathon course loses almost a mile of elevation from start to finish. Over the 26.2-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments. Although it is generally true that you never want to run “too fast" at any point in a marathon, remember that gravity is your friend, and you want to take advantage of the benefits of downhill running. Still, hold back until mile 9, manage the short climbs up to that point, and then start accelerating into the second half of the course. Keep in mind that even splits (or negative splits) are highly likely on a course like Big Bear. In other words, expect your second half to be faster than your first half! The key to success will be your ability to keep accelerate from miles 13 to 20, and then holding on at goal pace (if not faster) for the final 10K.

The Half-Marathon Course

Miles 1-4: Very Fast Start

Starting at just over 4700’ elevation, the half-marathon course drops 1,288’ total from the start to mile 4. That is an average of 322' per mile, which is a significant drop.

You will need to resist the urge to chase people if they pass you. Although you want to take advantage of gravity throughout this course by running “comfortably fast” on the downhills, you need to manage the early downhill drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along. You should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Miles 5-9: Settle In

Overall, you will drop nearly 1,250' in miles 5-9. That is an average of 250’ per mile, which is remarkable. Compared to the noticeably fast – and steep – downhill miles from the start to mile 4, this section is a much more “comfortable” downhill.

This is the section where you can really settle into your race pace. The downhills are less sharp than the opening segment, and all of them lose between 216’ and 272’ per mile. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down. If you are keeping tabs on your splits every mile or every few miles at marked intervals, don’t be surprised to see that you are running well ahead of your goal pace.

Miles 10-13.1: Coasting In

Remember that the opening 4-mile segment loses more than 300’ per mile, and the second 5-mile segment loses 250’ per mile. This final segment loses an average of about 159’ per mile. This is still a significant drop per mile, but it is much more gradual than the earlier miles.

As the course begins to descend more gradually, you might notice that your pace is beginning to slow. Pay close attention to your own level of effort. Whatever level of effort you feel on the opening downhill segments is your benchmark; duplicate that level of effort on the less downhill miles, but do not go harder. Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. If you feel yourself working too hard, then simply slow down. You should be coasting in for the final miles.

Summary of the Half-Marathon Course

The Big Bear Half-Marathon course loses 3,186' of elevation from start to finish. That's an average of more than 240' per mile, making this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 13.1-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 22-time REVEL Marathon Finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course that he has run, with his current streak at 20 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons!

 

Sept. 23, 2019

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is a must for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first REVEL race and your goal is simply to finish, or you are veteran aiming for a PR or BQ, you should have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the Mt. Lemmon course!

The head coach of REVEL’s Online Coaching Program, who has run a Boston Qualifying time in all the REVEL marathons that he has run, has prepared detailed descriptions of the Revel Mt. Lemmon Marathon and Half-Marathon courses.

Managing the Course Based on Segments

A critical component of your race strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit?

You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

Generally, the Mt. Lemmon Marathon course can be divided into four sections:

Miles 1-4: Fast Start

Miles 5-6: Short Slowdown

Miles 7-20: PR Territory

Miles 21-26.2: The Flat Finish

Similarly, the Mt. Lemmon Half-Marathon course can be divided into three sections:

Miles 1-7: PR Territory

Miles 8-10: Gradual Slowdown

Miles 11-13.1: The Flat Finish

You can study the courses yourself on the REVEL website. You can zoom in, use the interactive elevation chart, and get a feel for what lays ahead of you on race day. If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy. 

The marathon and half-marathon courses are summarized below based on the segments described above.

The Marathon Course

Miles 1-4: Fast Start

Starting at over 8,100’ elevation, the first 4 miles of the course lose more than 1,120’ of elevation. That is a severe drop, and you will need to resist the urge to chase people if they pass you. Although you want to take advantage of gravity throughout this course on the downhills, you need to manage the sharp drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace. You might feel a bit winded from the altitude, but you should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Miles 5-6: Short Slowdown

Right around the mile 4 marker you will notice that the course starts to climb a bit at times. The climbs over the next two miles are short but noticeable. You will feel yourself slowing down a bit, which is fine. Also, the overall elevation is still fairly high (around 7,000’), and you might find it difficult to breathe due to the added demands of climbing – fighting gravity.

Consider this section to be a short “breather” where you can ease off a bit, assess how your legs are doing, and prepare for the upcoming section that is remarkably fast. You still have many miles to go, and you want to conserve your energy for the miles ahead. As you reach the mile 6 marker, you will be about to start the next segment of the course, which is one of the fastest downhill sections of any marathon, anywhere. Just be patient, and you will be ready to run some significantly fast miles ahead.

Miles 7-20: PR Territory

From the mile 6 marker to mile 20, you will lose over 3,770 feet of elevation. That is an average of 270’ per mile, with a downhill grade of -5% per mile. You will encounter small, short climbs here and there, but they are minor in comparison to the overall elevation loss. If you are keeping tabs on your splits every mile or every few miles at marked intervals, don’t be surprised to see that you are running well ahead of your goal pace. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down.

Miles 21-26.2: The Flat Finish

Make no mistake: it gets tough for the final 10K, which loses a total of 325’ of elevation. Compared to the early miles of steady downhill, you will, without any doubt, notice how in miles 21-26 it is harder to hold your pace. Coupled with the late-race fatigue that typically sets in at this point of a marathon, the flatter terrain will make it feel like climbing. Moreover, the very minor climbs that do appear in this segment will slow your pace noticeably. Just hang in there, keep your legs moving, and work hard to get to the finish.

Summary of the Marathon Course

The Mt. Lemmon Marathon course loses more than 5,500’ of elevation from start to finish. With an average loss of more than 213' per mile (a grade of -4%), this one of the fastest marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 26.2-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your "faster than normal" pace on the downhill segments.

The Half-Marathon Course

Miles 1-7: PR Territory

Starting at 4,770’ of elevation, the course drops 1,928’ from the start to mile 7, which is an average loss of 275’ per mile. That is a comfortable and manageable descent, and you will want to manage the downhills by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace. You should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Miles 8-10: Gradual Slowdown

Not long after you pass the mile 7 marker, the course noticeably starts to lose less elevation. It does not quite “flatten out” yet, but you will go from losing 275’ per mile to losing 64’ per mile. That is noticeable, and you will gradually start to slow down. You will need to “switch gears” to a slower pace based on even effort and should be prepared to run markedly slower than whatever pace you averaged in the first 7 miles.

Miles 11-13.1: The Flat Finish

The final 5K of the course is relatively flat. The total elevation loss is roughly 80’ for the entire final 3.1 miles of the course. Compared to the early miles of steady downhill, you will, without any doubt, notice how it is harder to hold your pace for these final miles. Coupled with the late-race fatigue that typically sets in at this point of a half-marathon, the flatter terrain will make it feel like climbing. Moreover, the very minor climbs that do appear in this segment will slow your pace noticeably. Just hang in there, keep your legs moving, and work hard to get to the finish.

Summary of the Half-Marathon Course

The Mt. Lemmon Half-Marathon course loses more than 2,200’ of elevation from start to finish. With an average loss of around 170' per mile (a grade of -3.2%), this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 13.1-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your "faster than normal" pace on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 22-time REVEL Marathon Finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course that he has run, with his current streak at 20 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons!

 

Aug. 7, 2019

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is a must for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first REVEL Big Cottonwood race and your goal is simply to finish, or you are Big Cottonwood veteran aiming for a PR or BQ, you should have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the course!

The head coach of REVEL’s Online Coaching Program, who has run a Boston Qualifier in all of the REVEL marathons, has prepared this detailed description of the Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half-Marathon courses.

Managing the Course Based On Segments
A critical component of your strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit?

You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

Generally, the Big Cottonwood Marathon course can be divided into five sections:

Miles 1-3: The Fast Start
Mile 4: The Loop
Miles 5-18: The Canyon Drop
Miles 19-23: The Out and Back
Miles 24-26.2: The Straightaway Finish

Similarly, the Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon course can be divided into four sections:

Miles 1-3: Gently Fast Start
Miles 4-9: PR Territory
Miles 10-11: The Canyon Exit
Miles 12-13.1: The Gradual Downhill, Straightaway Finish

You can study the courses yourself on the REVEL website. You can zoom in, use the interactive elevation chart, and get a feel for what lays ahead of you on race day.

If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy.

The marathon and half-marathon courses are summarized below based on the segments described above.


The Marathon Course

Miles 1-3: The Fast Start

Starting at over 9,600’ elevation, the first 3 miles of the course are on Guardsman Pass Road and include several turns and switchbacks. Overall, this first 3-mile segment loses more than 900’ of elevation. That is a significant elevation loss, and you will want to manage the drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace.

Resist the urge to chase people as they pass you. While you want to take advantage of gravity, you should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Mile 4: The Loop

You will leave Guardsman Pass Road where it intersects with Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, turn left, and start climbing towards the Brighton Resort where you will loop around the resort area, and then head back towards the point where you began the loop.

Over the course of The Loop, you will climb slightly more 116’ to the highest point of the loop. This is a segment where you do not want to get caught up with the pace of other runners if they are passing you. You still have many, many miles to go, and you want to conserve your energy for the miles ahead. If you feel yourself working too hard, then simply slow down.

Miles 5-18: The Canyon Drop

From mile 4 to mile 18, just before you exit Big Cottonwood Canyon, you will experience the fastest part of the marathon course, with an elevation loss of more than 3,700’. There are a few small, short climbs here and there in this segment, but they are minor in comparison to the overall elevation loss.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself running well ahead of your goal pace. This segment is where the downhill profile of the marathon course will benefit you significantly. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down.

Miles 19-23: The Out and Back

Just past mile 18, you will leave Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and turn onto S. Wasatch Boulevard for an out-and-back segment. For the next 2.26 miles, the course flattens out a bit and loses less elevation that the previous miles coming down the canyon. All totaled, you will lose 100’ of elevation on the “out” portion of the out-and-back, with some climbs along the way.

After the turnaround, you will run back to the entrance of Big Cottonwood Canyon and head towards Fort Union Boulevard. Over this 2.28-mile stretch, you will be climbing back to where you started the out-and-back.

During this segment, don’t panic or become discouraged if you find yourself slowing down, or if it suddenly feels harder to maintain your pace. After the significant drop of the early miles, along with the typical late-stage fatigue that is common in marathons, your legs might feel heavy and you might feel as if you are working very hard to keep going. But the key will be to keep going. Once you get past this segment, the closing miles will be downhill again.

Miles 24-26.2: The Straightaway Finish

The finish line is on Fort Union Boulevard. After the right-hand turn from the out-and-back onto Fort Union, the closing 3.2-mile segment drops approximately 430’ total, making it a gradual, straightaway downhill finish. You will encounter terrific crowds who will cheer you towards the finish line of the fast and beautiful Big Cottonwood Marathon!

Summary of the Marathon Course

The Big Cottonwood Marathon course loses almost a mile of elevation from start to finish. Over the 26.2-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments. Although it is generally true that you never want to "go out too fast" in the opening miles of a marathon, remember that gravity is your friend, and you want to take advantage of the benefits of downhill running.

The Half-Marathon Course

Miles 1-3: Gently Fast Start

Starting at almost 7,300’ elevation, the half-marathon course drops more than 400’ total from the start to mile 3. That is an average of about 135' per mile, which is a significant but manageable descent each mile. You will want to manage the early downhill drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace. You should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Miles 4-9: PR Territory

This is where your half-marathon personal record (PR) will be made. Miles 4-9 all totaled lose 1,863’ of elevation, which is an average of 311’ per mile. If you are keeping tabs on your pace, don’t be surprised to see that you have picked up significant speed and are running well ahead of your goal pace. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down. But be mindful that it is expected for you to be well ahead of goal pace during this long, downhill segment of the race.

Miles 10-11: The Canyon Exit

At mile 9, just before you exit Big Cottonwood Canyon, you will notice that the course starts to flatten a bit. After losing an average of more than 300’ per mile in the previous “PR Territory” section, this 2-mile stretch loses an average of half that per mile: 313’ total, or just over 150’ per mile.

You can expect a short slowdown here due to the lesser elevation loss. You will need to “switch gears” to a slower pace based on even effort and should be prepared to run much slower than the first 9 miles of the race. Likewise, you really do not want to concern yourself with runners passing you, if that happens. It is easy in a race to get caught up with the pace of other runners. You still have a few miles to go, and you want to conserve your energy for the closing downhill miles ahead. Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. If you feel yourself working too hard here, then simply slow down.

Miles 12-13.1: The Gradual Downhill, Straightaway Finish

Just past mile 11, you can say to yourself "now downhill to the finish!" Mile 12 loses 196’ of elevation, making it a speedy pick-up where, if you are feeling good and aiming for a PR, you can turn on the speed again and feel yourself flying toward the finish. Finally, the last 1.1 miles have a gradual loss of just over 80'. You should feel comfortable locking in right at goal pace, if not slightly faster, for the finish.

In this final stretch, the crowds of spectators will grow larger as you make your way towards the finish line of the fast and beautiful Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon!

Summary of the Half-Marathon Course

The Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon course loses 2,857' of elevation from start to finish. That's an average of more than 220' per mile, making this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 13.1-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses, and who has run the Big Cottonwood Marathon five times. He is a 22-time REVEL Marathon Finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course that he has run, with his current streak at 20 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons!

July 10, 2019

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is a must for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first REVEL race and your goal is simply to finish, or you are veteran aiming for a PR or BQ, you should have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the course!

Managing the Course Based On Segments

A critical component of your strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit?

You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

Generally, the REVEL Chilliwack Marathon course can be divided into five sections:

Km 1-5: Cruising Downhill Warm Up (miles 1-3)

Km 6-18: Turn on the Speed (miles 4-11)

Km 19-26: Drop and Roll (miles 12-16)

Km 27-36: Up and Down Slowdown (miles 17-22)

Km 37-42.2: Steady Finish (miles 23-26.2)

Similarly, the REVEL Chilliwack Half-Marathon course can be divided into three sections:

Km 1-5: Rolling Downhill Warm Up (miles 1-3)

Km 6-15: Up and Down Slowdown (miles 4-9)

Km 16-21.1: Steady Finish (miles 10-13.1)

You can study the courses yourself on the REVEL Chilliwack website (select km/meters or miles/feet to see distances and elevation). You can zoom in, use the interactive elevation chart, and get a feel for what is ahead of you on race day.

The marathon and half-marathon courses are summarized below based on the segments described above.

Note: The REVEL Chilliwack marathon and half-marathon will be marked using kilometers, not miles. The course review is based on segments using kilometers for distance and meters for elevation, with corresponding equivalents in miles and feet also noted.

If you are accustomed to marking your goal splits in miles, try using the following websites to help you determine your goal splits at various kilometers:

https://www.depicus.com/swim-bike-run/pace-conversion-chart

http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/4/4_1/96.shtml

If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy.

THE MARATHON COURSE

Km 1-5: Cruising Downhill Warm Up (miles 1-3)

Starting at 660m elevation (2,166’), the marathon begins at the entrance to the Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. This first 5K of the marathon loses 150m (487') of elevation, with minimal climbing over that opening segment. This is a very comfortable 3% downhill grade. These first 5K are some of the steepest downhills you will run on this course, and you will want to take advantage of gravity by letting yourself move comfortably fast. Be wary of a sensation of “running too fast” in this opening segment of the race. If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down.

Km 6-18: Turn on the Speed (miles 4-11)

Starting at 5K, the course begins the next series of steady downhill miles. The elevation at 5K is 510m (1,679’ at mile 3). Over the next 13K (8 mi), the course loses another 194m (628’). This segment is not as sharp as the opening 5K, but still runs noticeably downhill with no significant elevation gain at all. Like the opening 5K, this section, with its 1.5% downhill grade, is where you will want to take advantage of gravity and “turn on the speed” at your goal pace, or slightly ahead of it. You will be adding to the “time cushion” that you began building in the first 5K, and by the time you reach 18K (11 miles) you can expect to be ahead of your goal pace split.

Km 19-26: Drop and Roll (miles 12-16)

Km 19 to 21 (roughly miles 12 and 13) have some of the sharpest elevation drops since the opening 5K, losing a total of 104m (351’). At this stage of the race, with most of the sharp descents behind you and the flatter segments ahead, you want to accelerate through the drops as you approach the rolling hills ahead. The “drop” of the segment is the last time you will see elevation loss greater than 3%. Take advantage of these downhill sections as you approach the second half of the race.

From 21K to 26K (about miles 14-16), the course loses a gradual 47m (160’) of elevation, which is a 1% downhill grade. You will notice the more gradual descent. As you roll along towards the end of this section, you should find it relatively easy to run right at your goal pace, if not slightly ahead of it to build a bit more cushion.

Km 27-36: Up and Down Slowdown (miles 17-22)

Starting around the 26K mark (mile 16), the course begins a series of noticeable drops and climbs, rolling through the thickly wooded area alongside the Chilliwack River. Overall, this 10K loses 103m (321’) of elevation, which is the same 1% downhill grade that you experienced in the prior “Drop and Roll” section. However, the climbs along the way, coupled with the much more gradual drops than what you encountered in the first half of the course, will slow you down. The key to this section is to maintain a steady pace that parallels the lower drop in elevation: lower drop means slower pace. You will notice a slowing of your pace, and you will sense that you cannot increase your pace without an increase in effort. This is due not only to the normal and expected fatigue at this point in a race, but also due to the lower amount of elevation loss per km/mile. Your objective in this section should be to hold onto your goal pace as much as possible.

Km 37-42.2: Steady Finish (miles 23-26.2)

This final section is a relatively steady downhill, with a few short little climbs at 38K (almost mile 24) as you approach the end of Chilliwack Lake Road. All totaled, this closing section loses 37m (137’) of elevation, making it the flattest section of the entire course at less than 1% elevation loss. With the added muscle fatigue from the earlier downhills, the flatter terrain at the end will almost certainly slow you down. However, that is expected and perfectly fine if you have managed your race and the “time cushion” up to this point!

Summary of the Marathon Course

The REVEL Chilliwack Marathon course loses 635m (2,084’) of elevation from start to finish. Over the steadily downhill course, you likely will surprise yourself with your "faster than normal" pace on the downhill segments. You will need to work hard to maintain pace on the flatter sections, and very late in the race plan to use the “time cushion” that you will build early. Although it is generally true that you never want to "go out too fast" in a marathon, remember that gravity is your friend and that you want to take advantage of the benefits of downhill running early in the race.

THE HALF-MARATHON COURSE

Km 1-5: Rolling Downhill Warm Up (miles 1-3)

Starting at 213m (700’) of elevation, the course drops 49m (160’) total from the start to the 5K mark (mile 3.1), which is a 1% downhill grade. As you roll along through this gradual descent, you should find it relatively easy to run right at your goal pace, if not slightly ahead of it to build a bit of a “time cushion.” What you want to do at this early stage of the race is take advantage of the downhills, take it easy on the uphills. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down.

Km 6-15: Up and Down Slowdown (miles 4-9)

Starting around the 5K mark (mile 3.1), the course begins a series of noticeable drops and climbs, rolling through the thickly wooded area alongside the Chilliwack River. Overall, this 10K loses 102m (324’) of elevation, which is the same 1% downhill grade that you experienced in the prior “Rolling Downhill” section. However, the climbs along the way will slow you down. The key to this section is to maintain a steady pace that parallels the lower drop in elevation: lower drop means slower pace. You will notice a slowing of your pace, and you will sense that you cannot increase your pace without an increase in effort. This is due not only to the normal and expected fatigue at this point in a race, but also due to the lower amount of elevation loss per km/mile. Your objective in this section should be to hold onto your goal pace as much as possible.

Km 16-21.1: Steady Finish (miles 10-13.1)

This final section is a relatively steady downhill, with a few short little climbs at 17K (almost mile 11) as you approach the end of Chilliwack Lake Road. All totaled, this closing section loses 37m (134’) of elevation, making it the flattest section of the entire course at less than 1% elevation loss. With the added muscle fatigue from the earlier downhill sections, the flatter terrain at the end will almost certainly slow you down. However, that is expected and perfectly fine if you have managed your race and your “time cushion” up to this point!

Summary of the Half-Marathon Course

The REVEL Chilliwack Half-Marathon course loses 188m (618’) of elevation from start to finish, making this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the steadily downhill course, you likely will surprise yourself with your "faster than normal" pace on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 22-time REVEL Marathon Finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course that he has run, with his current streak at 20 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons!

 

June 7, 2019

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is a must for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first REVEL race and your goal is simply to finish, or you are veteran aiming for a PR or BQ, you should have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the course!

The head coach of REVEL’s Online Coaching Program, who has run a Boston Qualifying time in all the REVEL marathons that he has run, has prepared detailed descriptions of the Revel Mt. Hood Marathon and Half-Marathon courses.

Managing the Course Based On Segments
A critical component of your strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit?

You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

Generally, the Revel Mt. Hood Marathon course can be divided into five sections:

Miles 1-5: The “Ski Slopes” Fast Start
Miles 6-10: Settle In
Miles 11-15: Accelerate Past the Half
Miles 16-20: Flatten Out
Miles 21-26.2: Rolling Finish

Similarly, the Revel Mt. Hood Half-Marathon course can be divided into four sections:

Miles 1-4: Fast Four
Miles 5-8: Steady Four
Miles 9-12: Work Hard Four
Mile 13 (plus .1): Fast Finish – Final Kick

You can study the courses yourself on the REVEL Mt. Hood website. You can zoom in, use the interactive elevation chart, and get a feel for what lays ahead of you on race day.

If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy.

The marathon and half-marathon courses are summarized below based on the segments described above.

THE MARATHON COURSE
Miles 1-5: The “Ski Slopes” Fast Start

Starting at 5,620’ elevation, the marathon starts adjacent to the ski lifts at The Timberline Lodge and Ski Area at the base of Mt. Hood. The first five miles of the marathon are almost entirely on the Timberline Highway, a smooth paved road that is nestled between tall pines and firs that line the road.

The first five miles of the marathon lose 1,645' of elevation, with less than 20 total feet of climbing over that opening segment. These downhills are notably sharp, and you will want to take advantage of gravity by letting yourself move comfortably fast. Be wary of a sensation of “running too fast” in this entire stretch of the race. If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down.

Miles 6-10: Settle In

Shortly before mile 5, the course turns from Timberline Highway onto U.S. 26. Over the next 5 miles, the course loses another 1,352’. This 5-mile segment is not as sharp as the opening segment, but still runs noticeably downhill. Like the opening 5 miles, this section is where you will want to take advantage of gravity and let your pace accelerate to the "comfortably fast" edge of your ability as you “settle in” at your goal pace, or slightly ahead of it.

Miles 11-15: Accelerate Past the Half

From mile 10 to mile 15, the course loses 1,051’ of elevation. You will notice the more gradual descent, which is still significant, with each passing mile. At this stage of the race, with the sharpest descents behind you and the flatter miles ahead, you want to accelerate past the halfway mark. Miles 14 and 15 are two of the last miles where you will see elevation loss greater than 3% (more than 160’ per mile). Take advantage of these downhill miles as you approach the last 11 miles of the race.

Miles 16-20: Flatten Out

Overall, miles 16-20 lose 362’ total, compared to earlier segments that lost 3-4 times that. These are much more gradual drops that what you encountered in the first 15 miles, and the key to this section is to maintain a steady pace that parallels the lower drop in elevation: lower drop means slower pace. You will notice a slowing of your pace, and that you cannot increase your pace without an increase in effort. This is due not only to the normal and expected fatigue at this point in a race, but also due to the lower amount of elevation loss per mile.

Miles 21-26.2: Rolling Finish

Make no mistake: this is where it gets tough for about 5 miles of the final 10K. All totaled, the final 10K of the course loses 348’ of elevation. Miles 21 and 22 together lose a total of 171' of elevation, and there are some noticeably sharp drops followed by gradual climbs. After that, miles 23 and 24 roll gradually up and then down to lose just over 120’ of elevation. Mile 25 actually gains 12’ overall, and then mile 26 loses just under 60’. The final .2 is essentially flat.


Summary of the Marathon Course

The Revel Mt. Hood Marathon course loses over 4,750’ of elevation from start to finish. Over the 26.2-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments. Although it is generally true that you never want to "go out too fast" in the opening miles of a marathon, remember that gravity is your friend, and you want to take advantage of the benefits of downhill running.

THE HALF-MARATHON COURSE

Miles 1-4: Fast Four

Starting at 1,759’ of elevation, the course drops roughly 440’ total from the start to mile 4. You will encounter a few gradual climbs in these opening miles, but nothing too severe. What you want to do at this early stage of the race is take advantage of the downhills, take it easy on the uphills. The downhill is noticeable but comfortable – not too steep, but just enough to let your legs turn over quickly. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down.

Miles 5-8: Steady Four

You will notice the difference between miles 1-4, which average more than 100’ of elevation loss per mile, and miles 5-8, each of which drop between about 50' and 78' per mile. These are more gradual drops than what you encountered in the opening segment, so you will want to maintain a steady pace. There are no steep, fast drops, but also no hard climbs. As the course gradually drops, you want to maintain a steady level of effort to hold your pace.

Miles 9-12: Work Hard Four

Make no mistake: this is where it gets tough and where you will need to work hard. Miles 9 and 10 together lose a total of just over 50' of elevation. You don’t want to “push” yourself to try matching the fast pace that you held in the more downhill miles earlier in the race. Mile 11 will suddenly feel faster again. It loses 68’ of elevation, and you will notice it. However, mile 12 requires some work: it has a net gain of more than 20’ overall.

Mile 13 (plus .1): Fast Finish – Final Kick

Once you reach mile 12, you can say to yourself "now downhill to the finish!" Even better, the downhill in the closing 1.1 miles is steady and gradual, but quite noticeable, which is great for tired legs. The elevation loss from mile 12 to the finish is roughly 70’. You should find yourself able to resume some of the faster paces that you were able to run in the earlier miles of the race.


Summary of the Half-Marathon Course

The Revel Mt. Hood Half-Marathon course loses nearly 900' of elevation from start to finish. That's an average of around 70' per mile, making this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 13.1-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 22-time REVEL Marathon Finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course that he has run, with his current streak at 20 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons!

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