No matter what the race distance, there always seems to be some sort of pacing plan that comes with it. The patience with the pacing my differ depending on the length of the race, but overall I have used 3 different kinds of pacing plans.
Negative splitting always seems like a good idea but is always the hardest to execute. It takes extreme patience and knowledge of yourself, both in how you race and what pace you are capable of running for X miles. Starting slow and finishing faster always makes great sense, but why is it so freaking hard to execute?
No matter how many times I say I am going to start out slow, it seems to come back to bite me. I somehow negative split my first marathon by 5 seconds and haven’t done it again in 10 more marathons. I still don’t know how that happened in my first one, maybe because I didn’t know what was coming.
I actually really like this mentality of a pacing plan. You start off a tad bit faster than goal pace since the effort feels the same. As you get further into a race, it takes more effort to hold the same pace, which makes that pace feel harder. If you keep the same effort, you might slow down a bit, but it takes a very slight advantage of feeling good at the beginning and being ready to fight at the end.
This is the plan I used for the marathon where I BQed and seemed to work great that day. I had an extra amount of fight in me at the end though… and that fight was definitely needed to hold on.
Crash and Burn
This probably doesn’t qualify as a pacing strategy but is all to common among runners. Going out way faster than we should, thinking this feels so easy, then hitting a wall and slowing down significantly as you go while hating life.
Too many marathons and races in general this has happened to me. Please tell me I am not alone.
I have been thinking a lot about pacing plans lately now that I am entering this new territory of training for a 50 miler. I am trying to get my mind wrapped around how one paces for a race of that distance because I really have no idea.
I have been reading up on how runners attack a race like this and a very common theme is the walk/run strategy from the first step. This makes sure you are saving up energy for the end and really conserving along the way. 50 miles is a long way to go after all.
The plan I have seen the most of is a 5 minute run to 1 minute walk, so you run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute from the second you start. Coming off of marathons, this is something really hard for me to grasp mentally… I am used to running until I can’t anymore!
I know I will have to train using the pacing strategy I plan on using, but how do I know what is going to work best for me?! A lot of times with trail running, the terrain dictates the walk/run, but with this elevation profile, it’s going to be VERY important to conserve.
As I train and experiment over the next couple months, I am hoping that it becomes apparent what is going to get me to that finish line come April 7th.
How do you attack different race distances? Have you experienced any of the above “pacing plans”? Come on, I know you have!
Help me! Have you run an ultra? If so, how on earth did you plan to pace yourself? Any help, advice, opinions are very appreciated to this newbie.