Deviate from the horizontal

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Incline Club...
What is the Incline Club?
What is the Incline?
What is Pikes Peak?
How do I become a member of the Incline Club?
What do I get for all of this pain?
What does it cost?
Is there a long-term training plan?
How do I keep track of what is going on?
Sunday Workouts...
What is the workout protocol?
Who is invited?
When are the workouts?
What about bad weather, race conflicts, etc.?
Do I need to bring anything?
How do I get there?
Where do I park?
Are there results?
Thursday Workouts...
What are the workout protocols?
Who is invited?
When are the workouts?
What about bad weather, race conflicts, etc.?
Do I need to bring anything?
How do I get there?
Where do I park?
Are there results?
General Questions...
How does the SkyCam work?
How are the 3D maps made?

Got a question? Send it to me and I may add it to the FAQ.

About the Incline Club...

What is the Incline Club?
A group of nuts who meet most of the year for Sunday long runs on and around Pikes Peak. During the summer months we also meet on Thursday evenings for quality hill sessions.

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What is the Incline?
The Incline is an abandoned cable car route where the Incline Club got it’s start. Over the years the club ran up it less and less in favor of other runs until we phased it out altogether in 2000 after it became too much of a PR nightmare. You can read a lot more about it here. Now we use the dictionary definition of Incline which means “to deviate from the horizontal.” Since Pikes Peak is in our playground we get to deviate from the horizontal a lot:-)

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What is Pikes Peak?
A 14,115' tall lump of granite. For more information head over to the Skyrunner.com Pikes Peak page.

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How do I become a member of the Incline Club?
Although there are virtual Incline Club members (those just on the e-mail newsletter list) to become a “real” member of the Incline Club you must show up and complete four workouts — it is that “simple.”

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Vertical Kilometer Pin What do I get for all of this pain?
You get in shape! We used to give out the pin pictured here but now they are all gone. Now those that come to a bunch of runs (20 in 1998, 25 in ’99 and ’00, 30 in ’01, 35 in ’02) get the Incline Club award!

We also have a really cool club shirt. Watch the club newsletter for ordering information. We usually take the orders in late April or early May.

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What does it cost?
Blood sweat and tears. Perhaps not in that order...

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Is there a long-term training plan?
Many members of the club are training for the Barr Trail Mountain Race in July and the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon in August. The long-term plan goes something like this: On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving we start with 2-hour long runs (see the long run FAQ). In January we add onto the two 2-hour runs taking them to 2½ hours. Finally in March we take them to 3 hours which is about as long as we go for the year although on occasion the runs can become as long as 3½ hours if the snow gets deep and slows us down or if we just feel like running longer. (Note: All times are for the faster runners and it is recommended that slower runners run no more than 1 hour more than the faster runners even if it means doing shorter runs.) Thursday quality sessions (see the Thursday FAQ) start on the 1st Thursday in April. Sometime in June — depending on the snow — we move the Sunday long runs to Elk Park trail and head up to the top of the Peak for the altitude phase of the program. The Thursday after the PPA/M we hold the annual Incline Club awards party and then we stop all the workouts until we start the process over again on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving!

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How do I keep track of what is going on?
The Incline Club website is where information and results are posted (you are here). We also have a weekly e-mail newsletter that lists the upcoming workouts and any changes or updates. Just go here if you want to be added to the e-mail list.

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Sunday Workouts

What is the workout protocol?
These are long runs designed to build a base and also keep up our skills for running on trails, rocks, snow and sometimes ice. While we never do our long runs like races, we do not run them slow either. In the early season — until Junish — we alternate runs every weekend with:

  1. Go out the Ute Indian Trail and at the “T” take a right down the service road. Look both ways and cross Hwy 24 and then run the Waldo Canyon loop clockwise. Look both ways and cross back over the highway and head back the way we came. 1:50 to 3:00 depending on speed.

  2. Go out the Ute Indian Trail and at the “T” take a left up the service road and then another left when the service road forks and head up toward Mt. Manitou. Run down through the Experimental Forest to No Name Creek. Head back down the Barr Trail to finish. 1:50 to 3 hours depending on speed.

  3. Run out El Paso Blvd and turn left after crossing under Hwy 24. Run into the Garden of the Gods past the Balance Rock. Turn left and head up Rampart Range Road until passing the antenna. 100 yards later turn left and run down Williams Canyon back to the park.

  4. Up to Barr Camp via the Barr Trail and back 1:50 to 3:00 depending on speed.

These should be right at 2-hour runs for the faster runners and 3-hour runs for the slower runners. As the season progresses we add on to these loops to make them longer. See the long-term plan for more details.

When the snow melts on top of Pikes Peak — sometime in June — Sunday runs are moved to Elk Park (on the Pikes Peak Highway) where we run 6.5ish miles over to Barr Camp and then head up the Barr Trail to the Summit.

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Who is invited?
You are, so come on out! The more people that show the better because the chances of having someone at your pace gets better. However, even if no one else ends up with you, just being on a schedule and starting with people makes the whole process of Sunday long runs a lot easier! We must pay the price now, so that we can be rewarded in August!

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When are the workouts?
Every Sunday at 8:00am from late November through August. That is warmed up and ready to go at 8:00am!!! For the Elk Park runs we meet at 7:00am to drive up to the starting point. Also as the year progresses the road opens up later so we move the time back.

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What about bad weather, race conflicts, etc.?
The run is NEVER cancelled!!!!! Several of us even did the run on that minus 13 degree Sunday one year. Even in really bad weather like that someone IS GOING TO SHOW so why not be the one to get the bragging rights?! Of course, some of us do not come if we have a race that is on a Sunday. We also have a weekly e-mail newsletter that lists the upcoming workouts and any changes or updates. Just go here if you want to be added to the e-mail list.

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Do I need to bring anything?
During the Winter months the weather can get down right dangerous — be prepared!!! Also, it is HIGHLY recommended that you bring water and some energy food! These are long hard runs and more than one person has totally bonked, dehydrated or both! Also, having some extra food and water waiting for in your car when you get done makes for a faster recovery.

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How do I get there?
We meet at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs which is next to the City Hall and police and fire stations. This is also where the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon Start from. From I-25 exit to Hwy 24 (exit #141). Follow Hwy 24 West to the Manitou Springs exit, and then West on Manitou Avenue. Follow Manitou Avenue 1 mile and park at Memorial Park. Once we move the long runs to Elk Park Trail we will meet at the toll booth on the Pikes Peak Highway!

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Where do I park?
There are plenty of parking spots around and near the park. Once we move the long runs to Elk Park Trail we park after the toll booth on the Pikes Peak Highway and then car-pool to Elk Park!

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Are there results?
NO! However, all runners who show receive a star (*) on the workout board. I also write any fun tidbits in the Incline News section of the site. This is usually done the night of the workout. The only ranking is based on who comes to the most workouts. At the end of the year the 30 or so runners with the most stars get an Incline Club award.

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Thursday Workouts

What are the workout protocols?
We have two workouts that we rotate:

1) Tempo run from Hydro Street to No Name Creek (aka French Creek) or 30 minutes — whichever comes first. This is an anaerobic threshold workout requiring attention to pacing so that the pace is constant for the entire 30 minutes. As the graph shows I maintained a relatively even pace but did drop my heartrate on both the flat section leading to the rock arch and the downhill section just before No Name Creek. The first 10 minutes should almost feel easy with a gradual build up of the effort required to maintain the SAME pace. There should not be MUCH build-up because it is a tempo run but non-the-less the effort does increase and usually the last five minutes or so one should be a tad uncomfortable but NOT racing!!! Progress is marked by how far up the trail you get in the 30 minutes with the goal being that the SAME effort over time gets you farther up the trail. This will help increase the pace that a given effort will produce or, as they say, raise our lactic acid threshold pace.

Incline Heartrate

2) 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy for 30 minutes starting at Hydro Street and running up the Barr Trail. This is a very demanding workout and unfortunately it is also very hard to master! What is important is to keep the hard minutes the same quality by learning to adjust your easy minutes. Because there are 15 hard minutes pacing is very important! The first hard minutes are not all out. However, by the 10th or so the effort seems to take effect earlier and earlier into each one with the last ones feeling like they are all out even though you are running the same pace as the first ones. As the graph shows I was able to get very close to the same effort pulse and recovery pulse all 15 times. More common — until you learn your body — is that as the minutes pass you will have to do the easy minutes easier and easier in order to keep up the quality on the hard minutes. Further, in the early season the easy minutes may have to be done as a walk. However, over the months as fitness is gained there may be an almost imperceptible difference between the pace of a hard minute and an easy minute and the easy minutes will not deteriorate over the course of the workout. Again looking at the graph you can see the very narrow range — 10 beats — so I am not slowing much for my recoveries. Generally, a runner will come within 1 to 5 minutes of the spot where they get on their tempo run. It just depends on how much the runner has to slow down on the recoveries. However, by definition you should NOT get to the same spot. Doing so would indicate that the runner 1) is not having enough of a variation between the hard minutes and easy minutes or 2) the runner is going out too hard on their tempo run and has to slow down toward the end — as in dying. Usually it is a combination of both and they get further up the trail in the 1 on 1 off workout because they get recoveries to make up for their lack of pacing skills. You can see using this graph and the graph above that I was 55 seconds off my tempo run to No Name Creek. In both cases my split at the top of the W’s was just under 60% of my time to No Name Creek (59.37% to 59.23%) — again pacing is everything. The purpose of this workout is to gain speed on a hill and to learn our body by going in and out of oxygen debt.

Incline Heartrate

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Who is invited?
You are, so come on out!

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When are the workouts?
Every Thursday from April through August at 5:45pm — that is warmed up and ready to go at 5:45pm!!!

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What about bad weather, race conflicts, etc.?
We have NEVER cancelled a workout do to the weather! However some of us do not come out the Thursday before a race. Usually everyone meets after the workout to brag or whatever and this is also when any plans for the following week are made — one time so many of us were going to be racing we just set up a pasta feed. We also have a weekly e-mail newsletter that lists the upcoming workouts and any changes or updates. Just go here if you want to be added to the e-mail list.

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Do I need to bring anything?
A stopwatch is a MUST! Otherwise, whatever you run/hike in is fine. The weather has been know to get nasty at this time of day so you might think about bringing a light jacket. Also, having some food and water waiting for you when you get done makes for a faster recovery from the hard workout.

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How do I get there?
We meet at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs which is next to the City Hall and the police and fire stations. This is also where the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon Start from. From I-25 exit to Hwy 24 (exit #141). Follow Hwy 24 West to the Manitou Springs exit, and then West on Manitou Avenue. Follow Manitou Avenue 1 mile and park at Memorial Park. We do a 1.25 mile warm-up to Hydro Street where the hard part of the workouts begin. Start your warm-up at a time that gets you to Hydro Street on time. Hydro Street is just past the COG Depot.

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Where do I park?
There are plenty of parking spots around and near the park. We then run the 1.25 miles to the COG Depot as part of our warm-up. Some people brag that they have parked in the COG parking lot when the COG is open and gotten away with it. PLEASE don’t do it! This is the reason the COG went nuts and posted the Incline NO TRESPASSING. If this continues they may get really mad and close off the Incline for real — as in gates, fences etc. If you want to run with the Incline Club do NOT park in the COG parking lots!

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Are there results?
NO! However, all runners who show receive a star (*) on the workout board. I also write any fun tidbits in the Incline News section of the site. This is usually done the night of the workout. The only ranking is based on who comes to the most workouts. At the end of the year the 30 or so runners with the most stars get an Incline Club award.

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General Questions...

How does the SkyCam work?
The Pikes Peak SkyCam has it’s own informational page.

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How are the 3d maps made?
With a really cool program called Topo USA.

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