As the old Aesop fable states........"slow and steady wins the race"!
Most people in races do not follow this strategy however. Looking at splits in a lot of races for us "normal folk" the 2nd half is almost always slower than the 1st half.
However, professional athletes remain even pace, and often do negative splits! The tortoise was also successful from using this strategy!
If I stop tearing off over the first mile, often clocking 30 seconds per mle quicker than my average overall pace, will I get a PB or will I just be 30 seconds slower!!??
Interested to hear from anyone who has had similar pacing dilemma's?
I decide what pace I want to run at, then stick to it from the start.
If I feel good in the last few miles then I might speed up a bit, and I usually have negative splits.
I'd rather have a race where I feel good all the way round, than start too fast and then struggle in the last miles, which is what I used to do.
Most if us "normal folk" arent actually racing - we are chasing a PB.
we may end up in a race with those around us at some point, put pacing tactics dont really come into it against random strangers whose strengths and weaknesses over distance you dont know.
Tearing off at 30 secs pm faster will cost you disproportionately more time over the course of a race. they say 10 seconds faster at the start of a marathon can translate into minutes of lost speed by the end.
Ergo - setting off at race pace wont see you 30 seconds slower at the end of the race. If iy does - you were running slower than optimum average pace throughout!
I think if you do the correct training for the event you're running then doing it at even pace becomes easier because you're used to running at the right speed and have the stamina to keep it going. Experience also makes a big difference - you learn how to run races over time. The problem with running a marathon for instance is that when you start off it just seems so damn easy because you're running so comfortably inside yourself, and almost subconsciously you speed up, try to keep up with other people, catch the guy in front etc. This is where the experience and the self-control come in. I actually think that the ladies are often better at this than the men - certainly within my club the majority of the negative splits and evenly run races are run by the women.
What he said
An even pace is the best way to run a fast race but the longer the distance the harder it is to achieve. I can run a very steady 10k, my half PB was quicker in the first half but not by much and my marathons are all over the place.
There are two types of negative split
The one where the runner is an experienced regular racer who knows what form they are in and judges their race to perfection-not easy to do.
The second type is someone who runs so well within themselves they rarely run to their potential and decide to actually put some effort in towards the end. The marathon can suit this type of runner but spot them reaching halfway in a 5k race and they still haven't broken sweat.
Would agree with that Chicatita. Sounds like you have a good racing brain. Some people never seem to get one and go on making the same mistakes again and again. Going off too fast and fading badly can cost you big time but if you never ever "go for it" then you will never learn what you are capable of. It's a fine line of being sensible and not having the balls to go for your target.
A good point I read recently is that a good runner uses pain to gauge his race. If you never experience that pain then you will never recognise it.
On the other hand there are people who whistle along have a good time and race just to enjoy themselves and be social. Good luck to them
I was looking at my anorak notes the other day, and even though I've done 117 races now, that "gotta get going quickly" feeling when the gun goes is still hard to avoid.
For a 5k I think you often need a fast start, as otherwise people will get away from you, and you can lose the desire to want to really push hard at such a fast pace.
For longer distances a too fast first mile can really jeopardise your time.
I suppose it's the confidence to trust your fitness and not try and get time "in the bank" too early
You're right about the 5k - if you go off too conservatively you simply won't get the time back because the race is too short and you're probably running not far below maximum speed anyway. I always think that if you get halfway in a 5k wondering how the heck you're going to keep going at that pace then you've got it about right. By comparison, I did a 10k in the USA a couple of weeks ago and did a 5:54 first mile when it should have been 6:15-6:20. I then just got slower and slower as the race went on and ended up about a minute slower than expected. Some of that was probably the heat, but I'm sure the first mile had a lot to do with it. Mind you, it wasn't helped by the fact that the two guys I was racing at the start turned round at the 2.5k point and went on to finish 1st & 2nd in the 5k race.
The only races I have ever regulary run are 5k and prettey much every time this happens.
The race starts everyone shoots off and about half a km later I find myself passing those same people and they never pass me. Never not once. Am I fast? Not really 19:44 is my pb.
My only advantage is I know two things;
1. Most people cant run a 5k under 20 minutes, but a lot want to and will shoot off at a pace they cant keep.
2.What the negative splits are for a 5 k if i want to finish under 20 minutes and as I run very negative i can start slow save energy and beat people on any hills slopes etc.
I want to even splits but I am not strong enough yet, so until then negative is the next best thing. I works plain and simple. You have to control your fear of others getting away from you. They will at the start but your betting that on the whole they will slow down and most will.
I recall one occasion basically grinding some poor runner into the ground by staying just off his pace but within my split pace. I eventually took him on the hill and beat him. I did'nt win the race, but I did race and beat him and get a pb.
Just because you may never win a race dont think you just have to chase PB's. short races are a great way of learning how to reign in desire to run off like a jack rabbit and actually think while your running.
I think it also depends what kind of runner you are, be it a pacier type, or a stamina type.
First 5k I ever did was in the low 18s, yet 10ks were over 40mins. I think you can get away with being a bit less well trained for the 5k relatively, and make it up off your natural speed and verve.
Roll on loads more training now, and years on, I'm now low 17s for 5k and high 35s for 10k (which by rights should be low 35s when the right weather comes along!). Therefore, I'd say the training has got my speed over stamina bias back on track.
Having said this, I still can't imagine ever doing a negative split over any race!
Some of the stuff in RW is a bit on the old guff side.
I think if you're doing the 3rd mile 20seconds slower than the 1st mile, you've seriously blown up
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