Last week I raced my third annual Four on the Fourth 4-mile road race, the first event of the three-event Tour de Carrboro. Because I now have a full half year of training by power (and power data from a previous four-mile road race), I was comfortable running this race by power instead of pace or heart rate.
My PR last year was 27:45 so I was shooting to improve by at least 15 seconds. Back in April I averaged 403W (Watts) over my 4-mile race but, if you exclude the first and last splits (when I was generating extra power due to my hot start and strong finish), I averaged 392W during the main part of the race. Believing myself to be in better running shape now, I decided to target 400W during the main part of this race, hoping that would translate to 4:22/km or better.
The day of the race it turned out to be drizzly – very humid but also cool and overcast, a real blessing in July! I was well nourished from the previous day’s 4th of July Eve feast so, after a long warmup, they sounded the gun and we were off!
KM 1: The first KM is a gentle downhill slope so I knew I would be able to keep a good pace at my target power. The first KM took 4:00; I averaged 413W and reached a heart rate of 169 BPM. Good.
KM 2: The second KM is flat-ish but again net downhill. I averaged 410W with an average HR of 171 BPM; it took 4:14. 1/3 of the way through the race my power output was a little high but I was feeling good.
KM 3: Flat. 403W, 173 BPM; 4:20. Right on track.
KM 4: Another net downhill: 388W, 175 BPM; 4:14. Still right on track.
KM 5: This is where you have to pay for all that downhill; this KM is a big uphill. 411W, 177 BPM; 4:32. I was really proud of my consistent power despite the grade change.
KM 6: Another uphill but this time with the end in sight. 421W, 181 BPM; 4:19.
Final .47KM: This finishes up on a quarter mile track. I managed to pass several people here toward the end. 457W, 188 BPM; 1:39 (3:31 pace).
Final time: 27:16 – a 29s improvement over last year! Average power 411W – 407W during the main part of the race. Perhaps most importantly, my greatest improvement over last year was the uphill portion of this race; for that I give credit to the uphill power intervals training I have been doing.
It was a good race, a good PR, and continued validation that that training by power is working. ‘Murica!