A calculator and pencil are essential tools to help convert an elevation map to incline.
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An elevation map is a topographic map that indicates height above sea level by using contours to denote change in elevation. An elevation map can be used as a tool for a runner preparing for a race. By converting the elevation of a course to incline on a treadmill, a runner can effectively simulate the hills on a course and be prepared for race day without ever setting foot on the actual route.1.
Find the route's starting point marked on the elevation map. Continue throughout the course on the map, noting its contours. The contours indicate a change in elevation on the course and are defined by a colored band. Use the elevation map's key to determine the color band's description of rise, fall or flat.2.
Using your pencil, mark the first initial point on the route where the contour changes, indicating a change in terrain. Note the elevation at this point, the unit for which should be in feet. If the contour covers a band of elevation, use the midpoint to determine elevation. For example, if the contour band ranges from 100 to 150 feet, document the elevation as 125 feet.3.
Follow the route until the course levels off at the top or bottom of a hill. Mark this point on the map with your pencil. Document the elevation height in feet.4.
Using your calculator, determine the height climbed by subtracting the height of the second point from the height of the first point. For example, if the height of the second point is 200 feet and the height of the first point is 125 feet, the height climbed calculates to be 75 feet.5.
Determine the distance in miles between the first and second points marked. This will either be marked on the map or you can measure it yourself with a ruler. Use the scale provided on the map to find the distance in miles.6.
Convert the distance from miles to feet. Multiply the miles by 5,280 to get a measurement of feet. For example, the distance measure is 1.5 miles, multiply that by 5,280 and the distance is 7,920 feet.7.
Calculate the incline percent. Divide the height climbed by the distance and multiply by 100. For example, if the height climbed is 75 feet and the distance is 7,920 feet, the percent incline calculates to be 0.95 percent.8.
Continue measuring for the remaining contours of the course. Record the incline for each section.9.
Program your treadmill according to your elevation map calculations to simulate the course. Treadmills will vary as to how they measure incline, so round off to the nearest point when programming your treadmill.
- Elevation Map
- Mapping software can also be used to calculate height climbed and distance along the course.