Monday, 1 July 2013

Practically Perfect Pacing

Whether you are a first time runner coming to a grinding halt on your Sunday run or experienced marathon veteran trying to find the perfect pace for a PB, correct pacing can be elusive. In this article we will have a look at how to get closer to perfection.

Pacing is about trying to get from A to B as fast and as efficiently as possible. To achieve this you can run a negative split: aim to run the second half faster than the first. Positive split: run the first half faster than the second half. Finally even pace: run the same pace all the way through. Each of this has positives and negatives. For example running a positive split can be very painful and leaves little room for error. However it can yield faster times for the right person/race/conditions. The flip side of this is running a negative split as it leaves great flexibility and is mentally easier to cope with. Picking a strategy is a personal experience based decision.

A way to gain understanding of what works best for you is with key sessions. This could be an out and back run where if you were running for 45mins you would head out for 23mins and run back in 22mins. The trick is to be back on the door step at 22mins, no faster, no slower. How did this feel? How far did you get? An alternative to this could be to run a loop that takes you 10mins while working hard. Complete the loop several times seeing if you can hold the same pace as the first lap. A final key session could be 4 x 1mile repeats with 3min recovery trying to hold best average pace. What times did you run? Did the times get faster? Did they slow? Was that because the first on was to fast? Answering these questions should tell you what strategy to use.

You then plan pacing based on your experience and the above sessions. For example you could have found that you naturally speed up through each. You therefore choose to negative split the 5k race you have coming up. Aiming to run the first mile in 10mins the second in 9mins 50secs and the third in 9min 45sec (You’ll have to sprint the 0.2 at the end).

On race day always be willing to change your pacing plans. You may find you are having a 'Mo day' i.e. everything feels easy and you are running quickly. Alternative you may have been feeling unwell and your breathing rate very rapid in which case you’ll need to slow down. Or it could be very hot and you’ll need to run that bit slower.

Remember the goal is to get from A to B as quickly as you are able to on the day!

If you would like an individual pacing programme or just further information please contact us at or call 07973 533943

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