Pacing. Moving the start line.

Pacing a race or a long run is probably one the hardest things in running to pull off.  I know this from many experiences.

We all go off too fast on the start line whether it’s a parkrun, half marathon or marathon.   You’ve trained for a race so you probably know what pace you can comfortably run the distance in.  Why do we never stick to that pace? Because we get carried away. We all do it. We run that little bit harder than we’ve trained at and as a result hit our lactic threshold sooner.  It’s a bit technical you don’t really want to hit that threshold too soon in a race, running becomes difficult once reach it, your legs fill with lactic acid, that’s a bit that hurts and stops them going as quick as you want them to.

So here’s a simple way to stop shooting off on the start line.  Move the start line. Move the point during the race when you start racing.  For example you know can comfortably run a 10k in 50 minutes, but when you run it quicker you’ve nothing for last 3km.  Next time you run that 10km, run it at that very comfortable 50 minute pace but when you reach 3kms to go pick up the pace, this is your new start line.  If that works, next time run the first 6km at a comfortable pace and put your start line at 4kms to go. Try it.

Another thing to try an acceleration run.  You can do this few ways.  A really simple one is an out and back run.  Run out for 31 minutes and then turn round run back to the start but this time in 29 minutes.  If you use same route every time you do this acceleration run you’ll be able to your improvement as you get further along the route.

You can get really funky and do an acceleration run where you increase your pace every few miles.  For example say you can comfortably run 10 miles at 9 minute/mile pace (sorry technical stuff!)  Break the run up.  Run the first two miles at a slow 10 minute/mile pace, the next two miles at 9 and half min/mile pace, then two miles at your comfortable 9 min/mile pace, the next two at 8 and half min/mile pace and the last two miles at a quick 8 minute/mile pace.  That run probably involves a fancy watch!

So go away now and think about moving a few start lines and start running the second halves of your training runs quicker than the first halves.


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