Pacing Strategies

September 28, 2021

We have ALL started out in a race too fast! Whether running, cycling, swimming, etc, the gun sounds and we take off full of EXCITEMENT and ENERGY! We feel good and let the race environment take control of our body! Then, we hear the voice in our head saying, "you should probably slow down and conserve energy," but you're in your grove and feel great. Until just after half way through the race and you think OH CRAP, I can't keep this up!

There are different ways to tackle a race. Think of your body as a battery. You've spent time training, fueling your body, prioritizing sleep and recovery, and you start the race with a FULL CHARGE! Your body battery is 100%! So, you can tackle your race:

  1. Going out fast and using up half of your energy in the first half of the race. Once your body battery gets to 50%, you become less efficient, your mental game begins to waver and the race starts to become HARD. You're using up your battery too fast and your performance begins to decline. Your heart rate increases significantly, which causes lactic acid build up in your legs and it sticks around for the rest of the race.
  2. Starting out at a controlled pace, allowing your heart rate to slowly increase. Your breathing is slow and controlled and lactic acid doesn't show up until later in the race. You feel good, enjoy racing, your environment and have gas left in your take to finish fast!  This was my experience at the Eugene Marathon in 2012 and it was amazing!

Can you think of a time you've said to yourself, "man, I should've started out faster?" So many times I have beat myself up wishing I would've started out slower, conserved some energy so I could enjoy the race I had trained so hard for and achieved my time goal!

So, as you prepare for your race ahead, come up with a pacing plan, trust the process and stick to it! I will be running the Boston Marathon (virtually) on October 9th! My pacing strategy for this race - slow and steady gets you to this finish line!

What are your racing plans for the fall?

Happy Racing!