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The thrill of the pace

It’s the post that nobody has been asking for, but a post I feel compelled to write. A detailed account of my pacing strategy for my recent 10k race. Apologies in advance, this may get a little nerdy (ie extremely nerdy), but it will help me in future by capturing this here, so hopefully it can help others too.

If you’ve read my race post from the weekend then you’ll know this strategy was successful for me. I encourage others to try this out for yourselves and let me know if you have similar success, or if there’s better (or simpler) ways to do the same thing that I did. Either way, please do what works for you, this is a method to control overall pace within your own tolerances and to help prevent going out too quickly at the start. This method shouldn’t be used to go faster than you are able to manage, please be careful in your training.

Disclaimers out of the way then, here’s what I did:

Last year I ran the same course and set a time that I was pleased with, although felt that with some extra training I could push harder on it. 

I’ve said before the course is a hilly one, and the km splits are not even. I took the data from last years race and took some time off each km to get to the target for each split. With a tiny bit of weighting, I had 10 kilometre times I felt was achievable, and that added up to my overall target time (in fact, I did this for a range of target times so I could adapt based on my training progress). 

I found a feature on the Garmin app that lets you plot a course and then shows your target splits based on how fast you want to run up the hills (you can find it in Training > PacePro Pacing Strategies). I plotted the route of my race and in a brilliantly reaffirming way, the split times were pretty much what I’d calculated myself. 

The pace was set, the race was on. The final thing to do was to set my target. I chose a time of 46 minutes as I felt that was most achievable based on recent form. 

Garmin pace during a run is always rounded up to the nearest five seconds; it’s only when you complete a lap you see the accurate time. I decided (very late on, the night before the race), that I’d round my target splits to the nearest five seconds too. That way I had a worst case time for the km I was on, my acrtual time for each split would be lower. 

And then finally, finally, as I said in my race post, I sat in the car on race day for far longer than I’d imagined, transcribing the split times onto the back of my hand with the worst biro in the world!

Over the course, the ink remained where I wanted it to; I ran each lap under my target times and ended up over half a minute under my expected time. 

A tried and tested technique for race pacing, can someone let Eliud Kipchoge know please!

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