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Finding the right pace for you

In many scenarios, practice makes perfect, but when it comes to running, pace is King. The ultimate goal is to find the fastest pace you’ll be able to sustain throughout the entire race. While it might seem like a simple concept to master, it, unfortunately, isn’t. If you go out too fast, you run the risk of premature fatigue; if you go out too slow you might not run your personal best. During your training over the coming months, try to find the right pace for your level of fitness as it will help you achieve the best results.

What is proper pacing?

Proper pacing is the ability to settle into the desired speed and sticking to that speed throughout. Pacing is the key to running more efficiently and preventing injury. Running within your limit is also more pleasurable and rewarding at the end of the day.

When you run too fast at the start of the race you could exceed your lactate threshold. Lactate threshold is the maximum effort an athlete can sustain without increasing lactate in the blood. It is therefore advised to find your lactate threshold aka your ideal pace.

Ways to find the right pace

  1. Use GPS fitness monitors

    External data gained from wearing a GPS fitness monitor can help you calculate what the best pace for your personal ability and fitness is. During your run, your monitor displays your pace making it easy to see if you are running too fast or too slow.

  2. Listen to your body

    Experts believe that while GPS fitness monitors have their advantages, runners shouldn’t rely solely on these devices for help with pace. Internal cues are far better for this as runners will learn how the right pace “feels”.

    Focus on how your breathing sounds during various effort levels, how many steps you take between every breath, what your overall feeling is, your ability to talk etc.

  3. Practice, practice, practice

    Pacing isn’t something you master overnight. It takes time and patience and a whole lot of practice runs to learn how your body reacts in various conditions. Over time you get closer to the feeling of “perfect pace” and your body’s ability to recall it improves as well.

What is the ideal pace for the race?

Experts advise runners to run the first half of the race at a slower pace (negative splits) and speed up in the second half. Negative splits allow runners to warm up muscles and tendons and increase pace without needing to use more effort.