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This is a luxury of which runners are not always able to avail themselves: Get familiar with the course.
But since the Kaweah Country Run is the hometown race, locals can run or walk the course whenever they choose. So before you show up at the KCR start line, get out there on the course and get to know every turn and bump in the road.
Both the 5K and 10K races start and finish at the gate near the last parking spaces at the Slick Rock Recreation Area. From there, both courses follow the paved roadway for about three-quarters of a mile.
Shortly after passing through a second gate, you’ll come to a fork in the road. The 5K course is to the left; the 10K course goes right.
For the 5K course, you’ll run on the old concrete highway through a couple of hilly curves, then descend to a flat, dirt straightaway. You will continue until the bridge; if you turn around here and return to your starting point, you will have completed the out-and-back route.
For the 10K course, take the right fork and descend to the straight stretch. The end of the straightaway seems close, but looks can be deceiving. It’s almost a mile long.
Coming off this stretch, continue around a bend to the right, cross a bridge, and continue straight past another road junction. Proceed through a third gate (that will be open on race day) and the road straightens out again.
After you pass through the old road cut, continue straight for another one-third mile. Turn left at the next road junction (if you continue straight you’ll end up in the lake!).
Take this road as it curves around a lake inlet, heading south, then west, then turning south again. Just after the three-mile mark, there is a Y in the road. This is your turnaround point.
Turn right and head toward the sign that declares the road closed to vehicle traffic. Turn left here as soon as you pass the tree then head up to meet up with the road and start heading back. (Currently, the short connector trail from the old road to the current road is not very distinct due to some cockleburs, but it will be cleared in time for race day.)
If you’ve been doing your training on pavement up until now, then make it a priority to run the course. The soft dirt and uneven surfaces require different muscles. You will also notice your pace will be a little slower on the dirt.
Something else to be aware of is the downhill ramp at the start. While it is okay to run somewhat faster on the downhill than what you would normally run on a flat surface, it is important not to go all out. Remember, these are out-and-back courses, which means what goes down has to come back up, and that up is right at the end of the run when you will be the most tired.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Kaweah Country Run (www.kaweahcountryrun.com). That will help you double-down on your commitment to run it.
So sorry but it looks like I messed up on the weekly count, so this training program will be 11 weeks instead of 12. Blush.
The fine print: You should consult your physician or other healthcare professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. Do not start this fitness program if your physician or healthcare provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain, or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.