Running contains a lot of trial and error. In 1 race or workout you go out too fast….and you ‘die’ or slow down. In a different race you finish super strong and sprint to the end, knowing full well you saved too much energy and could have gone faster. Sounds familiar?
Practice Makes Perfect…...
Practicing your pace conditions your body to be ready for that “goal” pace in races. This could be in the form of many kinds of ‘practice’ runs. You can finish a regular run at your goal pace. You can run a tempo run that is shorter than your goal race at your goal pace (run 1 mile at goal pace to get ready for the 5K and repeat). Another way is to run many smaller segments at goal pace with rests in between. You could even race several 5K’s to get where you want to go. In any scenario, the body is conditioned to “learn” the faster pace that you want to run. Without practice, it is very hard to run any faster than you are running now. You have to run faster to RUN faster!
On Pacers in Races…..
What is a running pacer? Most large races have experienced runners run at certain pacers to help runners to get to their goals – a time barrier or a Boston Qualifier, etc. For example, if you want to run under 4 hours, most marathons will have a group led by 1 or more runners that will help get you under that 4 hours mark. I have used a pacer 3 times in my life with mixed results. Twice the pacers have dropped out of the race and the third time I chose a pace group that was slightly too fast for me and I slowed after mile 20. A real good race will have 2 at once per time barrier or even split the race in half, with 2 runners running a half marathon. These “pacing groups” are very useful and can help you get to your goals.
Play a Little!
In the end, practice is what you use to play with your running. You will get better at pacing and at better with your racing and training.
Trials of Miles