Running the Harriers Pioneer 8k in 2018

The 2018 VIRA Island Race Series Harriers Pioneer 8k is coming up in exactly 2 weeks from now. This is a great way to start off the New Year if you are looking to make a positive lifestyle change after the holidays.

I’m excited to be signed up for the whole series. I’ve always been a huge fan of the series because it welcomes runners of all levels and the entry fee is reasonably priced. I’m also impressed with the post-race festivities and the food 🙂

After taking some time off racing (due to an injury and then being away on weekends for military training), I’m excited to be back on the roads. Although I don’t expect to hit any major PBs this year, I’m just grateful to be out there racing again.

Even though I may not run any PBs, I will be out there enjoying the sport that I’ve always loved. Given that I’ve done over 100 races, ranging from 800m to marathon, I have a few tips for beginner runners on how to enjoy their first Harriers Pioneer 8k.

The course has changed since I last ran it and I believe it will be faster compared to the old course. Take a look at the map and elevation profile below (click on the image to make it larger)

From looking at the course map and elevation profile, I can see that there is not a significant gain or loss in elevation, which means that it should be relatively flat and fast.

How should a new runner run this course?

The first km looks like a gentle downhill. The mistake that many new runners make is they bust right out of the gate. The first km here makes it very tempting to start too fast, but it’s best to start conservatively. You may want to start a few seconds per km slower than your desired goal race pace.

Between km 1 and 3, there is a very gentle incline, so, again, it is still best to maintain a conservative pace. If you didn’t run the first km too fast, you shouldn’t really notice the incline. If you run the first km too fast, you will feel the incline (even though it’s barely there). Believe me….I would know! HAHA

The gentle downhill will feel great after the 3k mark. However, you should still hold off on picking up your pace until after the turnaround point. The reason is that despite speeding up, you will be forced to slow down as you approach the turnaround. Therefore, you are better off conserving your energy until after you’ve made the sharp turn.

Once you get past the turnaround point, you will encounter a small incline. Maintain a conservative pace between km 4 and 5, but don’t be afraid to start speeding up if you have the energy for it.

Once you pass the 5k mark, there should be no surprising elevation changes. If you didn’t burn yourself out on the first 5k, you should be able to pick up your pace and finish with a negative split. After the 5k mark, you will encounter a gentle downhill which should help you speed up.

Once you get to the 6km mark, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and see if you can run the last 2km faster.

As we can see, this course is not too “turny”.

Summing it up:

Take advantage of the longer, straighter and flatter parts of the course. The small changes in elevation should be hardly noticeable if you don’t start too fast.

Keep a conservative pace until you reach the turnaround point.

Enjoy the beautiful views of the countryside.

Last but not least, use this race as an opportunity to meet other people who also love the sport as much as you do.

I’ve made many friends at races and this is part of the reason why I keep coming back.

The other reason is that constant desire to get better.

Together, we form a community of active people who enjoy living a healthy lifestyle and help great charities in the process.

Lastly, you have a chance to win a FREE Island Race Series Registration. Here’s how: register for Run4Dreams before December 29th, 2017 and you will be in the draw. It’s that simple. Not only do you get a free pair of Run4Dreams athletic socks just for signing up for Run4Dreams, but you also get entered to win great draw prizes.

See you on the roads, my friends! 🙂

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