05 June 2015

My thoughts on pacing

Last night's run and conversation got me thinking more in-depth about the importance of learning pacing not just for speed-work and race purposes but also in your easy runs.  So many people go out and just try to hammer each and every run full-out and then beat themselves up afterwards if they didn't hit x minute mile average.  Not only is this not beneficial to your physical health it also takes a toll mentally, you run the risk of getting discouraged and dreading each run instead of looking forward to it--there will always be those runs where you have to force yourself out the door but if it's happening more than 50% of the time then you need to re-evaluate why and how you are running (that's a completely different blogpost though!).

A recent run I did with a mate provides a good example of what I'm talking about, his goal was to hit 12ish minute miles for a 16 miler.  We ended up with a 10 minute mile average, success right? NO! That was not the goal for the pacing so we failed even though it was a very enjoyable run. Now keep in mind he has been running for years, is one of the fastest runners in our club, and a total beast when it comes to fell races of all distances, long and short so hopefully that will put it in perspective how important and difficult it is to learn how to pace across all speeds. Going slower in my opinion quite often requires more discipline than trying to run fast.

Learning how to pace is not only about keeping a certain average per mile but learning HOW that speed feels and being able to adapt it for various distances.  I realise this is somewhat abstract but practising hitting all speeds (slow, medium and fast) means that your muscle memory will kick in automatically and you no longer have to rely so heavily on your watch to monitor it.  Smarter pacing=better racing!

Pic via popsugar.com 

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