Marathon Series: Perfecting Pace

Wednesday 19 August 2015 by

To Strive, Olympic Park, Marathon, Running, Fitness, #HoBFitness

Welcome back to week thirty two of my Marathon Series, as I blog my way to a marathon – from beginner to 26.2 miles. This week, we’re talking about perfecting pace.

I’ve spoken about pace before. Pacing is vital to long distance running, because you have to maintain something that doesn’t cause injury but is still fast enough to achieve your goal. By now you should have a pretty good idea as to what your optimum speed is. So now it’s time to use that to your advantage.

For me, I can run a kilometre in anything between 5 minutes 10 seconds and 6 minutes. For sprint runs, I aim for a 5:15 kilometre, and for long runs I want to be hitting each kilometre on the 6  minute mark to be safe. There are two ways to track this.

  1. Know your routes

Pick your routes – map them out through Google Maps if need be – so you know how long they are. Most people run with sports watches, so make sure you know your kilometre/mile markers and check your times against each one. This can be a bit hit-and-miss unless you know your route really well. If you’re track running this is a hell of a lot easier, but running in small circles isn’t that much fun. This one takes confidence.

  1. Use an app

Apps like MapMyFitness track you as you run – with a TomTom-like voice checking in at every mile or kilometre, including your run-time, distance and splits. This is what I use, so I know my efforts and how each kilometre stacks up against the other. Each marker tells me how fast I’ve been and whether I need to speed up or slow down.

Once you learn to recognise what your perfect pace feels like, you can start to play around with your limits. But the trick is getting to know it all first. Perfect your pace by listening to your body. I know that if I run a 6 minute kilometre, I can go for miles. But I also know that I can push myself to go a lot faster if I only have a short distance to go. By mixing up long distances with sprint runs, I can gradually train my body to go faster for longer. I’ll never break any records, but I can perfect my own pace and get better and stronger.

How  do you pace yourself? What tricks do you use to maintain your pace?

Don’t forget to let me know how you’re getting on, using the hashtag #HoBFitness. And check back in a soon when we’re talking about the mental barriers!

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