16 May 2010

S or M ?

I am not talking about t-shirt size here ;-)

Lately I've been following the cool running thread on Sydney Marathon with great interest, in particular with respect to the new course.

Somebody posted a map-my-run on the new course and if you click the elevation profile, it doesn't look that hilly anymore. As a matter of fact, after km 30 where people normally tend to slow down, the course goes downhill.


Therefore, it seems that if a runner can navigate the first 30k and still have some in the tank, then sustaining goal pace in the last 10-12k is a real strong possibility due to the net descend.

Pros and Cons for Melbourne:
+ Three weeks later than Sydney equates to longer prep time
+ My in-laws has a house there = easier on the budget
+ HM race four weeks out; a useful test to predict marathon fitness and goal time
- Weather too unpredictable (although last year was great)

It seems the Melbourne course is flat with some rises at the end, but I haven't seen the course profile personally. Maybe TB who has done it in the last couple of years can chip in?

But if the weather sucks on the day, there is a risk that 4 months of good training will become a waste...

Pros and Cons for Sydney:
+ More reliable and pleasant weather conditions
+ Haven't done Sydney before and running the Harbour Bridge and finishing at Opera House will be special
- No tune-up races before the marathon
- I am not that great in hills (I always aim for flat marathons, hence past training always on the flat)

Currently still leaning towards Melbourne, but the new Sydney course is definitely very tempting.

Will not make decision until July/Aug, but any inputs will be appreciated. Thanks!


Clown said...

You're missing the biggest plus of all running with me :).

Interesting dilemma to have. Having done Sydney before albeit the old course, finishing at the Opera House and running over the Bridge were both fantastic and a very well organised event.

Melb, however as you said gives you a bit more prep time and if the weather is good, will be great. Finishing on the g will be pretty cool.

Can't really go wrong with either but Melb has more pluses, just have to hope the weather is good.

Sling Runner said...

Rob - yes.

But I am afraid that I won't be able to keep up with you given how well you are training at the moment !

trailblazer777 said...

My memory of the Melbourne course is that it starts off flat there is a small rise, then flat along st kilda rd, then downhill onto very flat and fast road near albert Park lake, then more gentle downhill, then flat alongside the ocean for a long way, which eventually goes downhill a bit, thena very small uphill rise, flat for a bit, very small rise onto st kilda rd. That is about 36k-39k done, almost no uphill, mostly flat and a few bits of gentle downhill or uphill. Its pretty much good bitumen (2-3 lanes so plenty of space) all the way, no concrete really at this stage. Big crowd at the start, Decastella revving us all up last year. always start on the left side of road, closest to Yarra river to avoid the median strip crossover (which did my ankle in 2008)
watch the tram lines on st kilda rd especially early on.

Then about 36k onward it varied a lot in 2009 from the 2007 course. (In 2008 I DNFed at 23km)...there was a steep dowhhill tunnel and then climb up through part of the Tan dirt track probably the only significant hill on the course not that steep, just was a bit on the long side. but then at the top you immediately come back down the road and go downhill at least 50-75% of the hill you just climbed. then its flat, and down the slight hill you climbed in the first 1-2km of the race.
with just over 1km to go its a gentle downhill to the MCG continues the downhill trend so the last 2-3km is all downhill and encourages you to finish off strong, then its into the the MCG plenty of cheers as you approach the G, the announcer often will say a few words about you as you enter the stadium, which is a magic feeling. You may even be on the big screen as you enter not sure about that, its similiar to the finish at Seoul except its the hallowed turf of the G where the AFL grand final and the Boxing Day test is played every year. Its where Craig Mottram John Steffenson, Kerryn Mccann, and Sarah Jamieson all won commonwealth Games medals in 2006, its where the 1956 Olympics was, the sporting museum there is very special. There is nowhere else quite the same in Australia, not many places if any in the world. Its a very special place, and they really transform it from a footy/cricket venue, to make you feel like you are finishing London/New York or the olympics or something, then its into the MCG lower levels with your medal and goodies bag, to get your clothing bag, the expo and shops inside are pretty good. There is heaps to do there for family and friends. Its a magic place. I'll be back for my 4th attempt at this one. Its just too special. The course is very conducive to a fast time, although maybe we should wait and see what the course is after the website opens on June 1st, as they seem to change the course every year a little, but that suggests they try to improve it. It did get a bit hot weatherwise towards the end of 2008, but one thing about Melbounre less chance of excessive humidity than Sydney as further from the Equator.
My wife and toddler did the 5k the last 2 years also...

The sydney hartbour bridge is worth running on, but I reckon a half marathon would be the better first up option at Sydney, then decide if you want to do marathon there another year...

as you can see Melbourne is the way to go IMO.

Ewen said...

I ran the half in Sydney last year and the weather wasn't exactly cool. In other words, I wouldn't make a choice based on expected weather. Melbourne was good last year.

The last 12k of Sydney now is fast, but there are a few hills before you get there - Mrs Maquaries Chair, Centennial Park. Lots of turns too. I'd say better than last year, but maybe not as fast (flat) as Melbourne. Good atmosphere in Sydney - the bridge, through the city, Opera House. Bit of a toss-up.

speedygeoff said...

My view is:
If you are acclimatised to SG then S may be the best bet.
But if you can de-acclimatise from SG and adapt to cooler weather, then M will get you a faster time.
From where I look in the ACT I would go for M 10 times out of 10.
But in your case you may be better off choosing S.
Other reasons I choose M is because it is flat, cool, no more windy than S on average, and M is the sports capital of Australia.