Fatigue. Boom. Slowing down. Crash and burn. Sometimes I even have to walk. Sometimes I've hit the wall way early than I should have. Burned up all my fuel stores. 'Cause that's how I roll.
Oops, I did it again. Stop the madness!
Are you guilty of this? When will I learn? Actually, this doesn't happen as often as it used to. I have learned a few things about pacing myself during a race. Since this week's Wednesday Word is consistency, I thought this would be a good week to share my secrets.
Truthfully, my secrets aren't so secret. Ask any running coach or running expert and they will tell you that the key to successful pacing is consistency in your training. Of course, you need a little bit of patience as well, because it's really hard to hold back when you want to go. Don't hold back too much, though. We runners all talk about negative splits but the real trick is to run consistently. All the experts agree that running a consistent pace is much easier and as effective as trying to run negative splits. Actually, we should eliminate the term "negative split" from our runner's vocabulary and just concentrate on pacing.
It's easier said than done. I'm no expert but I've been running a really long time with consistent results. So what has worked for me?
Learn to run by feel. What does this mean? I like to run fast but that need for speed has gotten me into trouble in the past. So with the help of my coach Becky, I learned to run fast, but pacing consistently by doing speedwork. Not just any speedwork, but mile repeats, 2-mile repeats, and yes, 3-mile (or 5k) repeats. To be able to hold a pace, running fast, for that length of time takes discipline and control. By doing this kind of speedwork week after week during my marathon training, I learned what it felt like to run a fast pace consistently.
Train with a heart rate monitor. I don't do this often, but I have used my heart rate monitor to help me learn how hard to push myself, especially in the heat. Heart rate training also helped me to learn to run by feel. By keeping track of my heart rate, I knew at what point I needed to hold back.
Just to clarify, some runners do MAF training with a heart rate monitor but that's not what I'm talking about here.
Use your music to your advantage. Have you ever run to music when that ONE song comes on that just kicks your feet into gear? There are apps that you can use to find music that fits your pace. Rock My Run is one that seems to be really popular, and after checking it out, I can see why! Dimity and Sarah, the original badass mother runners, really like this app and offer free mixes on their website. In the app itself, you can pick from 1000s of mixes set to the pace you want. Or you can let the app adjust the music to your pace. I've never used Rock My Run, but I totally get the concept behind it. The app is free but there are upcharges for subscriptions services. You know I love to run to music. If you don't like to run with music, I don't understand you, but you can still take advantage of running to a steady beat by using a metronome app.
|When I run with music.|
Run your own race. How many times have we heard this saying? I work just as hard on my mental fitness as I do on my physical fitness. One area where I've really grown is being patient at the beginning of a race. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with years of running experience as well. I've learned to be patients at the beginning of a race and not let myself get caught up in the crowd racing out of the corral. It really takes a lot of self-control to hold back, but the reward is in a strong finish. Just let them pass you up. Yep. Wave buh-bye. You got this. And wave buh-bye again when you pass them later in the race because they've run out of gas.
For me, this is always a work in progress. There are so many factors that we runners can't control. Fueling, the weather, or just having an off day can affect our ability to stay consistent on race day. But you just might surprise yourself. Learning to run by feel can only come with practice. That's the key.
Do you do training runs at race pace? What tricks have you found help you with pacing?
I'm linking this post with DebRuns and Wednesday Word. Head on over to see what everyone else says about consistency!
I'm also linking up with Coaches Corner. I'm not a coach, just a seasoned runner with a little advice to give...Debbie, Lora, Rachel, and Susie are the coaches! They've always got good info to share.