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Taste pace

The biggest learning from my race last week was one of pacing. There is something nice about being scooped up by the pack and spirited along for the first km or two of a race, however, this for me came at a cost: I hit a wall at the halfway point and struggled to keep any pace at all until the finish. 

Is it a problem? I still got a personal best time for the distance, maybe the first half was where my energy was best targeted?

I doubt it. It felt unmanaged and uncomfortable for a large period of the race, and in the end I was glad it was over. I guess being glad it’s over is a fundamental part of any race, but this felt wrong. 

Looking at the splits, the first half was consistent, just over 4:30 each km lap. The final one was about ten seconds quicker, so will ignore that one. Laps six to nine averaged at around thirteen seconds slower than the first five. Even with the faster lap ten, the back five km was on average nine seconds slower than the front five. 

To tackle this, I’ve been looking at my previous form for the upcoming race. I’ve mentioned before that it’s hilly, so there’s a natural rhythm of fast and slow sections, but as each km isn’t uniform uphill or downhill, it can be tricky to pace – but pace it we must, or suffer the same fate as last week!

Looking at last year’s splits, I can weight each km and target the pace for each to meet my goal – it’s all relative innit. If I’m aiming at 46 minutes (or possibly a shade under), then I now know my target splits. I’m guessing the way to store and recall these is the age old write-on-the-back-of-your-hand and hope they don’t rub off halfway round the course.

Interestingly, there’s a feature on Garmin where you can plot a course and say whether you want to go faster or slower up the hills. I’ve also done this for the race route and the calculated splits are pretty much exactly the same as my version. Looks like there might actually be some sense in my calculations.

So the theory is there, all I have to do is go out and run it!  

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