Pacing, Fueling, and Hydration for the Quad Rock 50

For runners hoping to finish the Quad Rock 50 within our 14-hour cut off, the following pacing chart can help you plan for a successful day. This plan includes a generous amount of time at aid stations (50 minutes total) that should be more than enough for any runner who is organized and efficient getting in and out of each station. There is a good opportunity to save a lot of time by being quick and efficient at each aid stop.

Aid Station Mile
Leg
Distance
Aid
Station
Time
Leg
Time
Leg
Pace
Total
Time
Arthur’s
2.0
2.0
None
0:27
13:30
0:27
Towers
7.1
5.1
3:00
1:20
15:41
1:50
Horsetooth
10.3
3.2
5:00
0:40
12:30
2:35
Towers
14.1
3.8
3:00
1:00
15:47
3:38
Arthur’s
17.5
3.4
5:00
0:43
12:39
4:26
Soldier
24.9
7.4
10:00
1:55
15:32
6:31
Arthur’s
32.3
7.4
5:00
1:55
15:32
8:31
Towers
35.7
3.4
3:00
1:15
22:04
9:49
Horsetooth
39.5
3.8
10:00
1:05
17:06
11:04
Towers
42.7
3.2
4:00
1:10
21:52
12:18
Arthur’s
47.8
5.1
2:00
1:10
13:44
13:30
Finish
50.1
2.3
0:27
11:44
13:57
Total
50:00
13:07
15:43
13:57

Our intermediate course cut offs are: 12:15pm at Soldier Canyon (mile 25), 2:10pm at Arthur’s (mile 32.4), and 4:35pm at Horsetooth (mile 39.6). These are set up to give runners the maximum possible time on the course. Realistically to make the final 14-hour cut off, you should plan to be about 15 minutes ahead of the 25-mile cut off, and about 10 minutes ahead of the Arthur’s mile-32.4 cut off. If you make it through Horsetooth on time by 4:35pm, you’ll have a good chance of finishing under 14 hours but will need to work hard to push through to the finish.

Fueling & Hydration

Our aid stations are set at fairly even intervals on the course and we will have an unmanned water drop set out on the longer 7.4 mile segment from Arthur’s aid station to the finish.

All runners will need to carry their own water on the course. Faster runners should be able to run with 1 bottle and mid-to-back-of-the-pack runners should be comfortable with 2 bottles. If we have warm weather, plan to carry more water – some of the exposed trails (like the Howard climb) can get very hot in the afternoon.

Ultimate Direction

A race pack, such as the Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest, has become a popular alternative in recent years, especially as designs have improved. The AK vest is ideal for Quad Rock 50 needs. It’s super light, holds two 20oz bottles and has room for 2 gel flasks (or your own packets or bars) and just enough space to stash a light jacket, shirt, and/or gloves in case we get hit with some rough weather on race day.

Our primary fuel at all aid stations will be Vfuel vanilla, cool citrus, and mountain berry gel and Vfuel lime drink. The new Vfuel drink mix is primarily dextrose to give you simple calories that are easy to digest and absorb. Vfuel drink will have 200 calories per 20 ounce bottle. All Vfuel gel will be served from bulk containers at the aid stations. If you plan to use gel from the race aid stations, please bring your own flask to carry it.

If you don’t have a flask, they are available from race sponsors Ultimate Direction or
Altitude Running (where we’ll be hosting packet pickup on Altitude Running Logo - 2012 FinalFriday afternoon). And please consider carrying an extra flask or small bottle for soda or Vfuel drink. While we do not stock our aid stations with water cups, we go through a tremendous amount of small cups for soda, gels and food. Stashing an extra flask and/or plastic baggie in your shorts or pack to use at aid stations would really help cut down on the amount of trash our event produces.

VFuelOur aid stations will also be stocked with a variety of soda and snacks. If you feel you need more sodium or just need a break from sweet gels and drink mix, we’ll have plenty of salty chips and pretzels. If you don’t care for gel or drink mix, we’ll have plenty of soda, cookies, gummy bears, and M&M’s to give you enough carbs to keep going for the day. PBJ and turkey rolls will be available if anyone needs a bite of something a bit more substantial.

Remember to drink and eat early and consistently throughout the race. Every year almost everyone runs right through the first two aid stations and doesn’t start to refuel or drink until the third stop at mile 14.2 on Towers. The Quad Rock 50 is a very long, hard day and if you get dehydrated or into a calorie deficit, it becomes hard to recover. But always drink to thirst. If you aren’t thirsty, have a sloshy upset stomach, or water just tastes bad, don’t force it. There are also serious risks associated with over-hydrating, which, in the most extreme cases can lead to hyponamtremia, a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low due to dilution.

Consume steadily all day, but keep it in moderation and don’t forget to replace electrolytes, either through capsules or by eating salty snacks at the aid stations.

If anyone has any questions about the course, aid stations, or race day planning that hasn’t been covered on our website, feel free to email us.

Have a great day out there, and see you at the finish!

Pete Stevenson and Nick Clark
racedirector@gnarrunners.com

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14 Hour Quad Rock Pacing Plan

In the past few weeks, we’ve heard from several runners worrying over the 14 hour course cut-off for the full 50 mile race. To make sure that the cut-off times are fair and accurate for a 14-hour finish, I (Pete) went out and ran the full 50 miles myself last month. As a result, we’ve decided to extend the mid-race cut-offs at Arthur’s Rock (Mile 32.4) to 1:40pm and Horsetooth (Mile 39.6) to 4:10pm.

I ran the course in the middle of a very high volume block of training on very, very tired legs so my pace for the day was much slower than my normal training pace and significantly slower than what I would have run fully tapered and rested for a race. I also didn’t have the extra benefit of aid stations with more frequent water refills and volunteer help. I jogged the easy sections and downhills and hiked every steep uphill on the course and finished the full course in 12 hours and 24 minutes. For runners who normally finish toward the back of races and close to course cut-offs, the 14 hour race cut-off for the 50 mile event will be tight but not an unreasonable goal.

Based on my 50 mile pace, I’ve estimated the following splits for a 14 hour finish time:

Aid Station Mile
Leg
Distance
Aid
Station
Time
Leg
Time
Leg
Pace
Total
Time
Arthur’s
2.2
2.2
None
0:27
12:16
0:27
Towers
7.2
5.0
3:00
1:20
16:00
1:50
Horsetooth
10.4
3.2
5:00
0:40
12:30
2:35
Towers
14.2
3.8
3:00
1:00
15:47
3:38
Arthur’s
17.6
3.4
5:00
0:43
12:39
4:26
Soldier
25
7.4
10:00
1:55
15:32
6:31
Arthur’s
32.4
7.4
5:00
1:55
15:32
8:31
Towers
35.8
3.4
3:00
1:15
22:04
9:49
Horsetooth
39.6
3.8
10:00
1:05
17:06
11:04
Towers
42.8
3.2
4:00
1:10
21:53
12:18
Arthur’s
47.8
5.0
2:00
1:10
14:00
13:30
Finish
50
2.2
0:27
12:16
13:57
Total
50:00
13:07
15:44
13:57

The pacing splits for each section should be fairly accurate based on my own actual running time on the course. This pacing plan includes a very generous amount of aid station time which I think most experienced runners can significantly reduce. While 3-5 minutes at an aid stop doesn’t sound like much, if you know what you need ahead of time you can be moving through aid stations in under 2 minutes with the help of volunteers to fill your bottles or pack/grab whatever snacks you need from the table.

I’ve included very generous 10 minute stops at the 25 mile turn around and the last stop at the Horsetooth aid station. At this point in the race, you may need to pick up extra backup fuel from your drop bags and/or change clothing layers depending on the weather. I highly suggest minimizing your time at the mile 25 stop and mentally preparing yourself to get in and out and on the trail for the climb back up to Arthur’s Rock. The section from mile 25 to the Towers aid station at mile 35.8 is the toughest of the course both mentally and physically. But trust me, if you stick it out and get yourself past the Mill Creek climb and into the home stretch, you’ll be rewarded with a very enjoyable and satisfying cruise to the finish.

Aside from minimizing aid station time, you just need to keep moving efficiently. As long as you’re hiking the uphills, you’re making progress. Make sure that you maintain focus and run every downhill and flat section. The course doesn’t have many flat miles but there are a lot of long switchbacks and traverses that are easily runnable if you stay focused and take advantage of them.

If anyone has any questions about the course or pacing strategy, feel free to email me directly at pete@gnarrunners.com. This is a tough course and not everyone will be able to finish the full 50 miles, but we want to make sure that we give everyone the support and information they need to have the best chance at success.

Pete

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