The Balmoral Burn is here again for 2014. It just felt like yesterday that we were grinding out crazy hill sessions for last years Burn. Our squad will not to be participating this year as it does disrupt training a bit too much and we wanted to focus on our track goals. And if the truth be known it hurts a little too. 🙂
Anyway for those that have decided to run I wrote this article last year on how to run the Balmoral Burn. I hope you have been grinding out some serious hill work and a few longer runs. Otherwise you are going to, well how should I say… be in a lot of trouble 🙂
I thought I would give you a few tips on how to run the burn however these tips could be applicable to running any hill particularly a steep hill.
The Balmoral Burn is a steep hill consisting of a few different grades so you need to break the hill down into a 3-4 sections.
1. Warm up: Make sure you allow sufficient time to warm up. Too many people get intimidated by the effort required to run Awaba and don’t want to do too much warm up to conserve their energy. We tested this during training and found that insufficient warm up just accelerated the rate of fatigue of your energy system. As it appears it is going to be wet and cold tomorrow ensure that you get a good sweat up before you get on the start line. For sprinters go for a short jog then complete a few solid runs on the flat to elevate your heart rate. Do not be afraid to elevate your heart rate to ensure your energy system has kicked into gear.
2. The start line. Postion yourself on the start line in front of everybody else in your category. You shouldn’t have too much trouble doing this as there is normally enough space to get you to the front of the pack. This will save you valuable energy trying to dodge and side step people and avoid being tripped over.
3. The Start of the race to the first street Waitovu is relatively flat and you will want to go out hard as there is always some one who will bolt out of the gates. LET THEM GO. Unless you know they are the fastest athlete in your race they will come back to you half way up the hill. I have seen year after year runners who take off like a “cut cat” and they end up finishing mid pack or even having to walk. The road has a relative steep camber to it and winds slightly as it rises. pick a straight line up the road and try to hold that line. As ever meter you don’t have to run counts. Find a steady tempo until the second street which is Lavoni. Here the hill starts to get a little steep until you reach the turning point of the race, The Grove.
4. The Grove…. This is where the race starts for most people. By this stage you know you have been running, your breathing will start to increase and your legs will just start to begin to feel a bit of fatigue.
5. If you are aiming for under 2 minutes you have probably gone past The Grove at about the 55 second mark or slightly quicker. This is where you need to change your running technique. Lean into the hill and reduce your stride length. Stay up on your toes and take smaller steps keeping your cadence at a steady pace. Don’t try and muscle up the hill as it will just accelerate the fatigue in your legs. Find a steady maintainable rhythm and stick with it.
6. Once you have passed The Grove everything will start to fall apart. As your lungs start to burn and your legs are about to explode try and maintain your lean into the hill and shorten your stride length. Your body will start to feel like it is about to shut down and your mind is telling you to stop. Hang in there. You may only need 3 or 4 very shorts steps for your body to recover and get going again.
My hat goes off to anyone that is prepared to tackle the burn. It is a box that all athletes should tick off their list.
Good luck and see you at the finish line.