Over the next few days we'll be adding a post on pacing. A great deal of endurance sport all boils down to pacing.  You can go out too fast and blow up, or go out too slow and finish way too rested.  The best endurance athletes are those who learn just how hard they can go over a variety of distances, terrains and conditions.

As a teaser...

  • you learn through experience.  You can't learn pace from a book or lab test.  Yes you can estimate paces and program your HRM or SRM with numbers that tell you how hard to go, but until you try it and learn what it feels like you'll never know it that estimate works for you.
  • Pacing is a combination of physiology, biomechanics and psychology.
  • The more you train the different energy systems (or event durations), the more you learn about what is appropriate for that given exercise load.
    • You should learn how to pace in the 2-10 minute range to truly understand longer distance pacing
  • Some learning about of pacing is through trial & error
  • Curiosity teaches you more about pacing than being conservative
  • Become a numbers freak. The more you pay attention to splits & HR, the quicker you learn about pace.
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is still very useful in knowing what pace you can handle, especially in faster paced training.  Knowing this in a race allows you to know who to race and who to let go
  • The most successful pacing strategies for events over 2 minutes in duration are conservative in the beginning and finish hard. If you do it right you negative split, which means the second half of the event was faster than the first- but only slightly!  Experience has shown that many World Best times are set with pacing 50.5 % of the total time in the opening half and 49.5% in the closing half.
  • Positive splitting (the reverse of negative splitting) often spells disaster (physically & emotionally).  Only in events under 2 minutes does positive splitting work well.
  • Uphills and downhills present unique challenges to pacing