Paul, Yes! Slowing down on the way to Barr Camp will pay HUGE divedends in the top half. I have suffered from leg cramps up top historically as well. It's too late to try new techniques in training, but if you have a history of eating gels and/or powders in your drink mix you carry up, try increasing the intake. This year I upped mileage and almost doubled my fluid/calorie intake to right at 250-275 calories/hr. My cramps have gone and times have improved. The biggest bang is increased hydration w/electrolyes & calories and going slower in the first half. 2-4 min from start to Barr Camp can equal 10-15 min saved up top. The opposite is also true, push hard on the bottom, pay back in time lost up top.
In response to:
I'm a PPM veteran many times over but due to scheduling challenges (and young kids!) my distance training has suffered the past few years. I can usually wing it and run normal to Barr Camp but then the killer leg cramps kick in, especially above tree line. Downhill is fine. But curious about strategy...would taking walking breaks and slowing pace before Barr stave off the cramps? Any suggestions? Thanks!