Pike's Peak Ascent/Marathon

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  • #9065

    I’m an East Coast, flatlander that enjoys the challenge of the Pikes Peak races (Ascent and Marathon) in August. I’ve done both a few times since 2014 and doubled last year. I’m a mediocre runner (3:14 marathon PR) but tend to do better in climbing and/or trail races but I’ve been just out of range for an Age Group win at PP each time I’ve gone. I think I’m getting the most out of my training (I do some appalachian mountain running as much as is feasible, but mostly it’s treadmill work) but obviously I am at a major handicap when it comes to altitude acclimatization. Sure enough, the guys placing in the AG at PPA and PPM are the ones from high altitude locations out west.

    Also, PP record holder Matt Carpenter has a relatively famous pace-chart that he recommends for the race, but it’s suggested only for those that are acclimatized to altitude, so I have never used it. Typically I do the lower-elevation miles of the race much harder/faster than he recommends…purely because I know I am going to lose time up top when I’m struggling for O2. Still, I’m tempted to try his method but afraid of risking an even slower time than I’ve typically done.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on training methods or how best to race this course? I’m especially curious if anyone has tried Carpenter’s pacing methods too. Thanks in advance for the discussion.

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    briguy on #44040

    Okay, I’m reviving this old thread as surprisingly Pikes Peak Marathon is actually ON for this year and unlike last year I’m back in the marathon as opposed to the Ascent.

    Still trying to figure out how to crack-the-nut of strategy for this race. One element I’m changing this year is I’m traveling out the week before with my family and we’re making a vacation of staying in Breckenridge for a few days and visiting Manitou and Royal Gorge etc. I’ll be passively exposed to more altitude than usual (about 12 days of exposure vs 3-5 of past years) but I’m wondering about my workouts since this period will comprise most of my taper.

    Should I schedule my workouts “down low” as much as possible? Since we’ll be at 9000’+ in Breckenridge I’m assuming it will be better to wait until lower elevations do my training runs, or is that not true? I realize there isn’t much I can do to help my fitness during the taper but there is alot that I can do to screw it up so that’s what I”m trying to avoid.

    Appreciate all guidance, thanks.

    Rachel on #44108

    I don’t have a lot of advice, but Breck is great, I wanted to buy a condo (if only) when we were there last summer. And running was hard (there’s a nice jogging/bike path along the river there). If it was me, I’d do low key hikes and enjoy the scenery and let the altitude do its thing and remember your AeT is much, much lower than in the flatlands. I also don’t think it’s very easy to go lower in elevation in Breck but I could be wrong.

    briguy on #44129

    Thanks for the info, we’ll be in Breck only a few days and then moving on to Royal Gorge and Manitou Springs so definitely lower elevation there.

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