Aloha all you sexy runners!
Hope the past week has treated you well and you got some good running in. I've had some great emails from people telling me how they're getting out there and giving it a crack, though they never thought they would. Kudos to you new runners. Welcome to the world of lycra!
All of you Team Bangs Army lot who are doing the Berlin Half Marathon, if you haven't already sent me an email telling me so, please do, with 'BERLIN' in the subject line. Gracias!
Right, onto today's subject: pacing.
This is one I get asked about a lot. How fast should I be going?
Keeping an even, steady pace is important when you run. When your pace is all over the place, you burn through energy quicker. When I started running, when I felt I had energy, I'd just run quickly because it felt great, but a few minutes later, I'd be flagging. Little did I know at the time that I wasn't doing myself any favours with that sporadic running style.
A good indicator of your natural pace is that you should be able to hold a conversation when running. If you can talk easily, you're going too slow. If your conversation is peppered with some heavy breathing gaps, you're doing about right. If you can't talk at all, you're going too fast.
There are, of course, all sorts of gadgets that can help you with this. You most likely already have an app like Runkeeper or Nike+ on your phone which will tell you what pace you're running at. I personally have the Nike+ GPS sportwatch, which I find great and I know a lot of people who use a Garmin.
If I'm getting ahead of myself here for the newbies and you don't know what I'm referring to when I say 'pace', it's basically the speed at which you're running each mile. So, for example, my very first attempt at running was a 5K, which took me 32:29, which means that each mile was taking me almost 11 minutes. I'm now able to run a 5K in about 25 minutes, which means each mile takes me about 8 and a half minutes.
When you're doing races, the trick is to try to maintain that pace (whatever your pace may be) throughout it. Let's say for example, you wanted to run a half marathon in 2 hours, you would have to do 9.09mi/miles the whole way round. You may hear people talk of 'negative splits' which is where they'll run the first half of the race at a slightly slower pace to conserve energy, then run the last half faster.
Pacing is not as easy as it sounds, especially during races, where adrenalin is high and everyone tends to go a bit faster. I for one, struggle with it greatly. Finding a consistency in my pace has been one of my biggest challenges as a runner, but I'm getting there. However, if anyone would like any coaching on the 'take off out the gate like the clappers and burn out quickly' technique, I'll gladly show it to you anytime. I kid, I kid. One technique I found really helped me improve my pacing a lot was running without music. Being in tune with your breathing and the cadance of your steps makes a really big difference. Often, when running with music, without even realising it, you'll adapt and start running in time with it, which can lead to your pace being all over the gaff.
For those of you following a half marathon or marathon training plan at the moment, you'll see your plans have 'tempo' runs and long runs in there. A 'tempo' run is a run you do at your race pace. When training for a half marathon, 'tempo' runs are usually around 6 miles. On your weekly long run on a Sunday, you should be going on average a minute slower per mile than your race pace. You don't want to push it too hard on your long runs and risk injury etc.
I use a good app on my phone called 'Race Pace Calc' which helps me calculate what pace I should be doing if I want to finish a certain distance in a certain time. If you're training for a race, it's useful to train with your ideal pace in mind - especially if you're doing your first half marathon or marathon, if for no other reason than purely to know how long you can expect to be on your feet for.
It makes much more sense to train to your pace, it's great preparation for your body so that come race day, it'll be a well greased machine that knows the drill and can get you to the finish line with near precision timing.
That's it for this edition - have a fantastic training week and I'll see you back here same time, same place, next Wednesday.
Big love and booty gropes