Trail & Ultra Running: Planning a race PR attempt

That's it - You are all set on going back to this race and improving your best time. You maybe want to tap on the course knowledge you now have, or take a new attempt to that section where you went through a rough spot. Here are some tips on how to plan for it based on our experience, and how to use Waldup to help you with the planning.
Disclaimer: No shortcuts or magic formulas - Your outcome will still depend on how prepared you come into race day.

Scenario 1: Improve times on specific sections of the course

Overall the race went well, but there is one or more sections on the course where you didn't perform to your full potential. This could be due to many reasons, from race day complications (hitting the wall and fueling issues in general, falls, blisters ...), to not enough preparation (pace significantly dropping in the last part of the race) and everything in between. Fact is, if you could go back and re-run those sections, your race time would look much better.

Download your recorded gpx track from your gps watch

If you use any of the bigger gps watch providers such as Garmin, Suunto or Coros, and granted that you use the watch on your last attempt, go to their website and download the track. Refer to their instructions if you don't know how to do it.
Important: Download your own effort, not the gpx provided by the race organiser. We will use this track as your starting point

Create an activity in Waldup using the gpx track

  1. Sign In and go to waldup.com/plan
  2. Go to Sign Up create your user account for free if you don't have one yet
  3. Click/tap on New Activity in the top menu bar
  4. Select upload a new track, and load the gpx track from the previous step
  5. Do not select a time option (we'll adjust the splits later)
  6. Click/tap on Create Activity

You should now see the track displayed in the map and the elevation profile. Smart waypoints: Waldup has created some waypoints for you following the track profile. More on this below

Where do you feel you could have done better?

Maximise impact

A good place to start to find areas to improve your overall race time are those where you went through a rough patch, or areas where you have been working on improving. Be realistic on what targets you set. As a rule of thumb, the more experienced you are, the harder it gets for an equal preparation leading up to the race. When setting targets for specific sections of the course, we rather work on percentages than absolute numbers.
Example 1: Improving 5 minutes on a 35' climb is a whole different ball game than doing it in a 90' one. Improving a 5% is less than 2' in the first case, in the second is 4'30"
Example 2: In a recent race, I went through a rough patch due to the heat. Legs were fine and terrain is similar to where I train, so I'm taking a more aggressive approach and expecting to improve that section by at least 15%.

Don't get sidetracked on marginal gains

Improving on aspects you are already good at will likely only deliver marginal benefits at a high cost.
Example: If you're good at technical downhills, trying to improve your pace on such sections might come at a much higher risk of falling for a minimal reward.

Using Waldup to adjust the times

  1. Add, Move or Delete Waypoints to match your liking and the cues you have from the race (such as Aid Stations). You do this by clicking/tapping (flags or track) and dragging (flag) in the map view
  2. Following the tips above and your own criteria, adjust the waypoint times by tapping on them, and editing the time in the map pop-up
  3. The time and pace (both for the section and full race) will be updated automatically
  4. Repeat till satisfied with the result


Based on your original race effort, you have now created your target splits for your PR attempt! You can always come back and adjust, or store different copies with different targets (we'll write a post on this soon).

Downloading the gpx track

Once you are happy with the results, use the Download track function to download the gpx version of the activity for use with your watch or smartphone. Note: The export will include the waypoints location and names, and is ready to be imported into your gps watch!

Export to PDF (Expert/Pro users)

By clicking on the Export to PDF button, you can generate a pdf version of your activity which includes the elevation profile, map and waypoints table. Think race sheet for yor and your crew.
Save it to your phone/print it out to take it with!

Try it now

Scenario 2: Improve overall race time

You have now seen (and ran!) the course once and want to use that experience to improve your race time. Following this approach, we set a new target (finish in less than xx hours, improve finish time by 10%, etc ...) and work out what it means for the race splits. Another reason you might want to follow this approach is if you had unusual bad weather conditions, which made you and everyone else slower.

Using Waldup to create the splits

In this scenario we'll use the time engine to create the splits, which we will tune later based on your experience from your last attempt, and the specifities of the terrain.
This is how you would do it:

  1. Click/tap on New Activity in the top menu bar
  2. Select upload a new track, and load the gpx track from the previous step
  3. Select a time option (we'll adjust them later)
    • Target time - Set your target total time, and Waldup will work out the splits
    • Target pace - Set the average target pace, and Waldup will work out the splits
    • Use another track Not sure of what pace/time to aim for? Upload the track of a similar race you ran or a training run, and Waldup will calculate it for you. When using this method, make sure the terrain is comparable for best results
  4. Click/tap on Create Activity

Ajust the splits and waypoints as explained in Scenario 1



We have shown you two ways on how you plan a PR attempt. Good luck with your season plans! Remember to put in the work and enjoy the training!

Thank you for choosing Waldup. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to send us an email to: team@waldup.com