Monday, October 22, 2007

To Slay The Pacing Demon

One of the cardinal rules that all runners must follow when running is to pace, pace, pace. In fact, this was one of my mistakes I have noted in the past. So I've read about it, I've experienced pacing and what no pacing does to the rest of the race, and yet I still battle the pacing demon.

I've ran three days straight and on all of them I've paced myself, albeit differently. The first was Saturday and was a 4 mile run where I ran it at a 7:48, 7:35, 7:50 and 8:00 pace. This was a good run and felt good. Pacing wasn't too bad, a little bit sporadic. I could tell that this pace would be too hard to run a marathon at right now.

Sunday was an altogether different pacing practice. I went running with a few friends at their speed and averaged a 10:37 pace. This was a bit slower than what I am used to, and it is still slower than what I want to run the marathon on the 4th at (which is around a 9 to 9:30 pace), but it felt good to slow down and run around a 10 minute pace. I was able to cover 6.3 miles and I didn't feel winded at all, nor did my knees and legs respond negatively. So experiment number two done.

Today I decided to do 6 loops around my house, where each loop is 3/4 of a mile. It was a bit hot out, reaching into the mid eighties when we've been used to the mid to low seventies, but not so bad that it slowed things down too much. Anyway, I set out trying to run my marathon pace and hold it steady. But, and there always seems to be a but when it comes to pacing, I set out at a jog and it felt great. I was running slower than usual but this was my jogging pace. It was extremely comfortable and easy run. My pace was 8:16, 8:15, 8:18, 8:16 and the final .37 miles I ran faster on purpose at a 7:57 pace. So my pace was extremely steady and consistent. Amazing, and my half marathon pace where I usually start out fast and slow down by the end is an 8:25 pace. So this shows me that my steady, easy pace will probably do much better if, and this is a big IF, I run the proper pace for the actual race.

Final piece to the puzzle. At the SF marathon I ran a very consistent first half marathon that was paced amazingly. I actually ran a second half of the first half of the marathon (if that makes sense, or miles 6.5-13.1) with a negative split, which was a first (too bad I didn't hydrate well enough and couldn't capitalize on the steady pace). All my races have been fast beginning with a slow finish.

So coupling all this together will lead to a great PR for the Silicon Valley Marathon on the 4th. My problem though, and this happened today, is that when I set out at what I think is a steady pace it always seems to be faster than what I am shooting for, except when I am running with other people (such as my friends, or at SF with the rest of my corral). So practice I will, nay, must, in the next week that I am running before I taper and rest. With any luck I will slay this pacing demon.

1 comment:

Brad said...

That's what I like about ultras:

Start out slow and then taper to the end.