Pace Control: My On-going Enemy

As my race is rapidly approaching (next Saturday, holy moly) I am really trying to hone in on my pace.  This is especially crucial for a race so long.  Being off pace by 15 seconds a mile in either direction could be devastating.

Most runners suffer from the “I-am-so-excited-so-I-am-going-to-run-these-first-three-miles-really-fast” syndrome.  In my last race, even the pacer fell victim starting out at about a 7:40 pace when we should have been going an average of 8:23.

To help combat this, the schedule I have been following had one run a week where you run at your marathon pace.  The idea is for you to feel what your pace should be like and know how to hone in on it.  I still can’t get it right.  I even tried to run on the treadmill where it was set to a certain pace and I couldn’t vary, but it didn’t help my ability to control it when I got back on the road.

Luckily, I am able to check my pace whenever I want because I have my Garmin but I don’t want to spend 26 miles staring at my wrist; that is boring, not to mention dangerous.

I think fate heard my frustration though because when I went home I opened up my Runners World issue from October (I am a little backed up, but hey it’s all new to me) and the first article I read was on pace control.

They listed three workouts to work on pace control (all generated by Runners World Magazine):

  • 5-10 x 1000 meters at tempo pace with one minute walking rest; try to run each lap within 5 seconds of one another.  Once you can do this, extend rep distance
  • 6-12 one-minute hill reps as fast as possible then recover by jogging down; try to get within 3-5 seconds, add more reps and increase time as you are successful
  • 4-8 x 800 meters at 5-k pace with 3 minute recovery; make each rep the same speed

I completely recognize the fact that it is too late for me to use these to make a difference for this race but I will have to tuck this little bit of info away for the next one.  Maybe by my 50th marathon I will be perfect in training, but some how I doubt it!

In non-running news, I have returned to school (womp, womp) but am excited to start neurological rehab.  I am pretty sure this is the area I want to practice in but only time will tell.

Do you have any helpful pace control techniques?