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3.5% Incline Makes A Full Minute Per Mile Difference In Pace

I have been receiving a particular question a lot.

We all know it is important to slow down on uphills and speed up on downhills.

But, what is the exact pace you need to target on uphills & downhills?

We can take a quantitative look, courtesy of authors and researchers Hans & Ron.

Let's consider a runner weighing only 128 lbs (58 kg) running at 6:26 min/mile (4:00 min/km)

That runner would need to slow down to 7:26 min/mile (4:37 min/km) pace on a 3.5% incline to maintain a constant power.

That same runner would need to speed up to 5:31 min/mile (3:26 min/km) pace on a 3.5% decline!

That is nearly a full minute per mile difference in either direction on a relatively small incline.

So, if you want to fully optimize your racing strategy, you need to be ready to run at a full range of paces depending on the race course you are on.

If you are running based on a pace, this becomes a fairly complicated effort since you need to know the incline you are running on and the right pace to run on that incline.

However, if you are running based on power, the task is simple.

Since most races are run at a single power number from start to finish, you only need to adjust your intensity until you reach your power target on any incline/decline you are running on.

Complete optimization of your race pacing strategy is within reach when you are running based on power.

That task is very simple when you have power, as well.

Stryd turns hill running into an almost "effortless" task.

All of the mental math is removed from the equation, since you just need to focus on one power number.

A lot of the physical work is removed as well since you are never over pacing yourself on uphills and downhills. You avoid a lot of unnecessary work that only serves to exhaust you.

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