After winning the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in WI, Joe embarked on a trip to Japan to compete at the Oze Vertical Kilometer (OVK), including a rival who came second to Joe at the Pike's Peak Ascent in August.
Watts That Won = 348
"Due to how the race was set up, I had to change my consistency-based strategy that had served me well at Pikes Peak and in Wisconsin," Joe said.
Building a Strategy Based on The Race
Most of Joe's races feature normal start in which all runners start when the gun goes off. This race, however, featured a staggered start, similar to the individual time-trial in the Tour de France or the Olympics. Joe's rival, Touru Miyahara, was starting ahead of him, and Joe wanted to keep him in his sights. If he didn't, there was a chance Miyahara would get away.
Joe also took the time to scout the race course the day before to see if there were going to be any surprises. It's a good thing he did so; there were multiple sections of the course that were so steep (steeper than any part of the Manitu Springs Incline!) and so wet, that when Joe attempted to run them he ended up sliding backwards, as if he was on a ski slope. To complicate matters further, the course bottlenecked after a few miles, so getting in front of as many runners as possible was a must if Joe wanted to win.
"Because I knew exactly how much power I could sustain, I was able to surge into the lead and maintain that lead"
Joe's recon of the course paid off. He started out strong and caught up to Touru Miyahara and a number of other runners. On the ascents, he kept his power as close to 400 as possible, as he knew he could sustain that effort without hitting the wall. On the descents, Joe had to relax and take his power effort down due to the slick terrain. A single fall could cost Joe his lead and race. He wisely played it safe and set his power target to 280 watts for both downhill segments. It was a comfortable power output he used on his practice runs leading up to the race.
Joe cruised to the finish victory margin of over two minutes. In summary, Joe faced a massive challenge with a difficult course. He had to change his power plan to accomodate the unique conditions on race day. Joe's superior fitness got him in the lead and his smart power planning made sure he kept it.
What's next for Joe?
First, Joe will get to clip his Stryd on his cross country spikes when he toes the line at a 10k cross country race in a couple weeks. Then, he'll look to defend his world title at the Xterra World Trail Running Championships in Hawaii on December 3rd.
Credits to Sky Running Japan for the images.