Expert Advice on How To Run The Skyway 10K February 26, 2019 13:13 2 Comments
It's race week! You have (hopefully) done some training and now the Skyway 10K is on the horizon. It's an event which is both fun and challenging at the same time. Also there aren't a lot of hills to train on here in St. Pete so running up and over this mammoth presents some challenges. Not to fear, our expert staff have some suggestions on how you should run the 10K. This is primarily geared towards those or are trying to finish the race as quickly as possible, but is also pertinent to those who don't want to feel like garbage during or after the race as well.
*Above is the actual elevation profile of running the Skyway 10k. (Left to Right) Along the bottom is where your effort levels should be to ensure success.
Pacing. That's a thing. Remember that everyone feels good the beginning of a race. They are fresh and fired up. Don't let the adrenaline of race day ruin your chances for a good time. We recommend the Medium, Moderate, Mad approach to running the race.
The first 4.5 K (nearly 3 miles) is flat. So you will run 45% of the race before you ever start climbing. Go out at a medium effort. The purpose is to go quick but not fatigue yourself. Going too hard here, although it is flat, is a bad idea because you're likely to dump lactate in your system which will slow you down later. During the first 3 miles you're running medium, while thinking the 2 R's: Relax, and Run. Be fluid.
At about 4.5km you'll be at the bottom of the bridge and begin climbing. Typically people make 2 mistakes at this point. Either they run too hard (think, CHARGE!) or they have already let the bridge beat them and they slow down unnecessarily. Don't be intimidated by this bridge! You're going to realize that the Skyway doesn't seem nearly as steep as it does when you drive it. Moreover, the bridge stays at a consistent gradient so it's easy to get into a nice climbing rhythm. Slightly increase your effort to Moderate. Lower your arms, and get a good rhythm by taking shorter & quicker steps. Stay consistent. If you feel like you couldn't talk to someone in a whisper, you'll need to slow down a bit.
At 6km, or 3.7 miles you will be the top of the bridge make sure you look around. It provides a rare & unique view at the mainland and it really looks surreal. Then, you'll want to switch into high gear! Typically people have gone too hard up the bridge and they'll look to recover on the way down. This is your chance to drop them. You actually want to increase your effort to Mad and go harder than you were. Use gravity to help you get to the finish sooner. Our athletes' Garmins showed their Heart Rate dropped 4-5 beats per minute on the way down the bridge last year. This means if done right, you can pick up the speed and slightly recover on the way down the bridge. The secret is to learn forward and not back as you run downhill. This should prevent you from "hitting the brakes" as you are in full stride.
From the top of the bridge it will be just under 1 mile until it levels out to flat road. This should be your fastest section of the day. At the bottom, expect your heart rate to go back up a few beats just to maintain the same pace. The goal here is to budget your energy over the last 2.5 km (1.5 miles) to the finish. Imagine you have a book of matches, you'll want to strike all of those between here and the finish line. Remember to swing your arms forward and back, also try to look up a bit because that will help put your hips in an optimal position.
There is one little bump before the finish line so make sure you hit that full speed and leave nothing out on the course. Enjoy the finish to this unique and fun race! If you can barely walk up the steps to get on the bus, you've probably done it right.
*This is just running advice and should not be mistaken for any medical advice. The article is written on the assumption that you are healthy enough for physical activity and have sufficiently trained for the demands of a 10 kilometer run.