Saturday, 25 March 2006

Even Pace

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, March 25, 2006 with 10 comments
Children, and novice runners, have not learned about even pace. "But, the best way to race is to go flat out all the way, isn't it?" No.

Running is far more than just putting one foot in front of the other as fast as possible and slowing down when you get tired. Or, expecting with training that you will be able to go flat out all the way when you get enough fitness together.

Now I have a dislike of a mechanical, same-pace-all-the-way kind of run. I think real running is racing along enjoying surging, easing back, striding out, playing with tempo and pace.

So when I talk about even pace I really should call it good pace judgment. It is the knowledge of what your pace is, especially early in a long race. It is the ability to go out and run at a predetermined pace, and be spot on to the second. It is a feel for how fast you are going and a sense of how your body is responding to that.

The first thing a novice who plans to race and wants to improve times, needs to learn is good pace judgment. The second thing to learn, which must be added to good pace judgment, is the ability to surge. And with it, the fitness to be able to recover from the surges and continue on at an even pace still.

Very few middle and long distance runners in the Commonwealth Games who won heats or finals went fast early and slower later. An exception was the 400m, but that is a sprint at that level and a very different event from the longer ones.

So what are we going to do about it? All our interval training has been about learning good pace judgment. But as a training group we haven't been too good converting that experience to races. So I will be doing more monitoring of intermediate splits in future races and time trials. Secondly, we need to learn to surge. So I will be racking my brains for some fun ways of doing that around the tracks at Parliament House and on the oval at Dickson.

We have finished training at Aranda for the time being. Dickson starts on Thursday 20 April. Be there!

Start at YOUR optimum pace!


  1. Hmmmmmmmm, I just knew this was coming - I always feel like a naughty kid when I get caught out running unevenly by the 'Chief Goose'!!!

  2. Oh I forgot, only 3 more sleeps until 'Survivor' starts............and just a few more hours until Busters 1500m run - Go Buster Go :0)

  3. If Buster had 'gone' earlier he wouldn't have been tripped!

    I agree with 'even pace' although you've got to love how Little-A type runners go out so hard in all races.

    For a 'surging' drill, a good one might be to have a couple of groups, running in single file with the last runner surging to the front of the group every few minutes. A bit hard though in the confines of the tracks around PH.

  4. Easier said than done this pacing thing.

    A realshame about Buster - had settled down to watch a ripper of a 1500m race when he was tripped - bugger!

  5. Good to hear from you, cj. Pacing takes practice. And I suppose it's a bit late for you to practice surging for the race in fifteen days time. It's the surge over the last 0.195 metres that's the most important of course, and the only other surges of any value are the ones to get to the drink stations ahead of the pack.

    Buster was only thinking about surging; if only he had done it!

    Good tip Ewen, that's a session I can organise. And I agree, there's nothing quite like watching someone giving their all for a whole race.

    Another good session we can do at Dickson is baton changing practice!

  6. But good for the kiwi boy at least and the Aussies have so many medals, they can afford to give a few away!! And Craig Mottram was magnificent in defeat - he rose even higher in my estimation and he's still young enough to achieve heaps of golds in the future.

  7. what? kiwi boy???? baaah.

  8. lol to the baton changes, what was going on? What a weird way to win a gold medal! I turned on telly half way through the 1500, saw Mottram at the back and thought 'what the ****?' and then of course all was explained, great attitude to the interviewer however! I'm more impressed by that than any gold medal!

  9. I presume there's now a vacancy for a relay coach! Although from what Jana said it was she who organised the running order for the women's 4x4.

    I've seen well coached Little Athletes do better baton changes than what we saw last night!

  10. It was the pressure ET, it got to them all.

    I agree with you if Buster had gone earlier he would have controlled the whole race and I wouldn't have been left feeling empty and emotional in my chair while my Kiwi partner jumped up and down, many, many, many, many, many times and lapped up the Kiwi's victory........while I sat empty and emotional in my chair....

    On the flip side, 2, yes only 2 more sleeps until survivor, make sure you have your video set up to record it Balloon Boy, you don't want to miss a single moment :0)