The Winter Handicap Series
This is a race against your own judgement.
This is run on the first Thursday evening club session of each month from October to March.
The course is around 5km and each runner is asked how long they think it will take them to complete it.
Runners should ensure that they have recce'd the course prior to taking part and know the route!
(Coaches organise recce runs prior to the start of the series)
Each race will start at 18:00 at the Havant Leisure Centre.
The best four out of six results to count.
Points are awarded for being closest to your predicted time.
More if you are close to your time and less if you are far off your estimate.
All runners who run within 30 seconds of their estimate receive a race bonus of 2 points.
2017/18 Winter Handicap
Thursday 5th October 2017
Thursday 2nd November 2017
Thursday 7th December 2017
Thursday 4th January 2018
Thursday 1st February 2018
Thursday 1st March 2018
Race course: Approx 3 miles
Please ensure that you know the route
The route starts just outside the HLC.
You go along Crossland Drive before doing an ANTI-CLOCKWISE loop and returning to the start.
prior to taking part in the run
Winter Handicap Route (anti-clockwise)
The start is from HLC where you go right onto Petersfield Rd, then right onto Crossland Dr and continue until you turn right onto New Ln.
Stay on the right side pavement to the cross roads and cross over the road (with care) as you turn left onto Eastern Rd.
Continue over the foot bridge to your right which will lead you into Third Ave.
Next go left onto Fourth Ave, left onto Southleigh Rd, left onto Rowan Rd and at the end of the road, crossover into the alleyway and continue over the footbridge into Stanbridge Rd.
At the end of Stanbridge Rd, turn left onto New Ln, and continue until you reach the junction with Crossland Dr.
Turn right and cross over the road (with care) onto Crossland Drive. Continue to the end and then turn left onto Petersfield Rd and then left back into the finish at HLC.
Below is a route map of the course
Click on image above to view full size in new window.
There are a number of road crossings, some of which are on very busy roads.
Always make sure you are fully visible to traffic and only cross when it is safe to do so!
High visibility or reflective clothing is required for this race, as it will be dark and it will enable you to be seen more easily by cars, bikes and pedestrians.
Please factor the busy roads, poor light and possible weather conditions into your estimates.
The objective is not to run the course as fast as you can. If you run at 90% and get delayed by traffic and crossing roads, then you will just need to adjust your pace and run the remainder nearer 95%.
No Timing Devices allowed!: Watches, Heart-monitors or any other device (pre-recorded music with tracks of a known length perhaps?) that could assist them in keeping time are allowed.
Winner: the person who finishes the race closest to their estimated time.
Prizes: 50 points for the winner
2 bonus point if you are within 30 seconds of your predicted time
3 points for every race you take part in.
The best four out of six results will count.
An announcement will be made before the start, but if you accidentally bring your watch along, please leave it in your car or give them to the race starter before the start.
When estimating your time...
The Summer Short Handicap is 3.65 miles. The new Winter Handicap course is 3 miles.
I don't expect runners to run at the same average speed as the summer handicap, i.e. as fast as they can.
After all, it is dark, cold and there are a couple of road crossings to negotiate.
However, most runners do run the Winter Handicap a minute to two faster than the Summer Handicap because it is shorter and you should look to do a time slightly faster than your Summer Short Handicap time.
I don't expect runners to prove they can run/walk three miles at an extra slow pace significantly below their normal race pace.
It is not an out and out speed trial, but this is a running club and I think it is reasonable to expect participants to run somewhere near their best.
The race itself
Runners will be started at 30 second intervals in approximately descending expected time sequence.
For people who do 8 minute miles, this will mean a gap of about 100 metres between you and the next person at the start.
The reason we start people at different times is to avoid the slower runners being 'stranded' alone in Havant Park.
This is partly safety and partly because nobody wants to be alone whilst a few heckling youths make some comments as you run by.
By starting at regular intervals, nobody should find themselves isolated from other runners.
Warming Up is important!
It has been noticed at handicaps (Summer and Winter) that most people stand around at the start instead of doing a warm up. Even in the heat wave of July, it is important to warm up.
It will increase the effectiveness of your run, help reduce the risk of injury and help recover from the stress placed on their body as a result of training.
You don't see the top athletes on TV standing around before a 5000 metres and you also don't see some of the top athletes at this club standing around before the start.
Indeed, many of the faster runners at this club are jogging around before they start their handicaps.
So it might be a good tip for everybody else, rather than shivering at the start waiting for the starter to let you start, to jog a few gentle laps round the carpark.
It would also be a good idea to go for a short gentle jog warm down after the race, possibly with a little stretching at the end.
From a coaching perspective this is an ideal opportunity to do a tempo run.
The aim is to do an effort of 20-30 minutes of 'comfortably hard' running in the middle of a longer run.
This can be done as a simple extension to the previous comments on warming up:
Aim to get there at least 10 minutes before the start and go for a jog of at least a mile or 10 minutes of easy jogging.
Keep jogging as you wait for the start.
At the 'go', pick up your pace to almost as fast as you'd run a 10k.
Faster runners should be closer to their 10-mile race pace.
At first this should feel pretty comfortable but after a mile or 2 you will be breathing hard and unable to hold a conversation.
You will be just on the edge of your comfort zone.
At the end of the 3 miles you'll probably feel like stopping, but if the world depended on it you could maintain your pace for another 3 mile lap.
Carry on jogging at the end for another 10 minutes - if you want to chat then jog around with your friends for a chat.
The above session provides a very good stimulus for raising your lactate threshold, ie your resistance to fatigue - possibly the most useful session you can do as a distance runner.
It also means you are running within yourself and saving your racing for when it matters at the weekend.
You are still participating in the competition by exercising your pace judgement.
Slower runners should estimate a time about half their current 10k time.
Faster runners should estimate a time slower than half their 10k time, eg a 39 min 10k runner should estimate around 20 mins for 5k.
If anyone is injured and cannot run, I would appreciate some help at the start / finish.
A few other points....
It is dark, it might be slippy under foot due to recent rain and/or cold temperature and there are unmanned roads to cross.
We don't want people taking unnecessary chances at dangerous places like road junctions in order to trim a few seconds off their time.
The objective is not to run as fast as you can, but one of time management.
The idea is to estimate a time before the start and then run at the required speed to achieve your estimate.
Ideally runners will run a little below their full speed for a normal 5K and be particularly careful i.e. slow down at corners and crossing roads.
On the other hand, we don't want to see people proving they can accurately estimate their time to do little more than walk round the course.
3. Course Measurement
You may (or may not) have noticed that some entry forms for races have a triangle with a wheel in the middle and the words 'certified accurate' underneath e.g. Hayling Billy 5 and Chichester 10K.
This means that the course has been measured by a properly qualified course measurer and is at least as far as is claimed.
The course must be at least as far as is claimed in order to qualify for records.
One centimetre too short and you can't claim a record.
The course we use on Tuesday has been measured with GPS's, measuring wheels and bicycles by various VAC members, but they don't qualify as accurate for records purposes.
Hope to See you on Thursdays....
Please wear something bright and reflective.