Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How To Train Your Body To Pace

Let's talk about pacing yourself. This is obviously a big thing for runners. Pacing has a lot to do with mind games and training your body to hold a certain speed for a long amount of time. I think that this is something that it took my body a long time to figure out. I'm pretty sure that years before now I was all over the place with my pacing but now I'm working on taking a few of my runs to specifically pay attention to my pace.

There are also a lot of different aspects of pacing that we could talk about. Today I want to talk about the kinds of runs that help you learn how to pace yourself, but first, let me say this, pace is something that is different for everyone and you shouldn't ever compare your pace to someone else's. It just makes yourself feel bad for not making the progress that someone else is making and it's not worth it.  If you are going to compare your pace to something, compare it to yourself (and even then, be careful and be kind to yourself).



Pacing is so important because we don't want to get out on our run or start out on race day too fast and realize halfway through the race that we won't have enough energy to finish strong. So you have to learn how to pace yourself at different speeds and you need to practice it. We do this with a lot of different types of runs, but the easiest run to use for pacing practice is a long run.

Long runs are not meant to be speedy. You use a long run to gain more mileage and endurance, so you run these at a slower pace. That's why these are great for training your body to keep a pace for the whole run. You don't really have to focus on anything else except for keeping a slightly slower pace for a longer amount of time.



I like to use my long runs to focus on my pace by checking myself every mile or so.  I start with a warm-up and work my way up to a comfortable pace that I know I can hold for a long run and then I  make sure to notice if I've sped up or slowed down at all. I make sure my form is still good even if I'm feeling tired. If any of those things have changed I try to fix it and keep going.  If music helps you, pick a playlist of songs with the same beat to keep your legs moving at the same speed the whole time.

Once you start practicing holding your pace on your long runs, you'll start noticing that your body does pacing more automatically than it did before. It won't take as much concentration for you to hold onto a certain pace. I love how our bodies will adapt to running like that!

Is pacing something that is hard for you to figure out?

What is something you've always struggled with in running?

12 comments:

  1. Run pacing is pretty easy for me because I've been doing it so long. When I went from just running to triathlon I had to learn about bike pacing and swim pacing and they each have their own methods. Swim pacing in open water is particularly tough because you don't actually have very much to gauge your effort on. Like you said - it's important. Good post. Thank you for sharing. Check out my blog when you have a chance. amysaysso.com

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    1. Yes, every sport is a little different for sure. I've never done a triathlon or even swam in open water, other than when we would play at Lake Powell, but it's definitely a different beast! Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fantastic day Amy!

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  2. I still haven't gotten it down and with injury, weight gain, stress, etc., it just hasn't really happened (with weight gain my pace dropped severely). Now that I'm healthy again, I'm losing weight, my pace is too fast! or is it? I'm doing an exertion test next week Friday to actually see where I'm at and what my zones should be. Then I'll start working on it again.

    not taking walk breaks has always been something I struggle with. I know it's not "bad", it's just not something I WANT to do.

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  3. I agree on the pace and knowing your comfort zone. My last half marathon - I has 7 miles at faster than my projected race pace and I bombed my last 6 miles! But, I love speed work to help with paces! FYI - you are too cute! ;)

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  4. I've certainly made my share of pacing mistakes in races in the past...hello going out too fast...now mostly I run by heart rate and that seems to work out just fine.

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    1. I always question my pace during a race haha. I’m always thinking I started too fast

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  5. Pacing has always been hard for me! I just have a hard time getting it right. A work in progress for sure

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    1. Yep! I think that’s pretty common. There’s always something to work on and you just have to keep at it

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  6. Pacing is usually hit or miss for me. I tend to run based on effort more than anything, so trying to hold a steady pace can be a challenge if the terrain is hilly or there's a lot of curves or starts/stops (at intersections). That said, the majority of my races (of various distances) all seem to end up with similar finish times...so I guess my body just knows what to do LOL

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    1. Isn’t that interesting that come race day our bodies just know? It definitely takes a lot of practice to get it right.

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  7. I agree with Kim.

    On my own, I struggle to run without walking. In a race since I am pretty competitive, I run a much faster pace than I train at.

    I would love to be more motivated to train better and do speed workouts.

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