My recent half marathon training runs have demonstrated that I’m unfit compared to last year, comparison (with my training last year) is the thief of joy and I urgently need to learn how to pace my “easy” runs.
At the moment, I feel so good when I head out the door, I’m tending to start my runs at a pace I’m not able to sustain. I find myself struggling to run, or in some cases, taking a couple of sneaky walking breaks. Although I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking, I shouldn’t really need to walk during an “easy” 20 minute run.
My issues with pacing are unfortunately nothing new.
Last year, I shared my goals for my target event of 2016; the Great Birmingham Run.
Rather predictably, on the day of the race I set out at an unsustainable pace, and struggled throughout the final 10k. Looking back, I made two fundamental mistakes. My Garmin was set to kilometres rather than miles, and I hadn’t worked out what pace I needed to run at to meet my time goals.
I was over-confident and thought that I was experienced enough as a runner to be able to pace my race by feel. I was wrong. As a minimum I should have referred to a half marathon pace chart before the race.
Although my pacing is still a bit hit-and-miss, I’m doing everything I can to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes during this year’s Great Birmingham Run. In an ideal world, I would track down one of the official race pacers and let them do the pacing for me. However, I’m not 100 per cent certain there will be official pacers this year. In addition, there’s every chance I won’t spot the pacers. I didn’t last year!
Fortunately, the lovely people at Pacebands.co.uk recently sent me a selection of Pacebands to hopefully help me with my pacing.
Pacebands.co.uk is a small start-up born out of frustration: the vast majority of races in the UK, even those with several thousand runners, don’t offer a Paceband on race day. As a result, Pacebands.co.uk was launched with the aim of providing an efficient service to runners looking for an inexpensive but professional pacing solution before a target race.
What are Pacebands?
Pacebands are simple, disposable wristbands that list the time at which a runner should pass each mile (or kilometre) marker of their chosen distance, in order to meet their target time. Pacebands are manufactured from durable Tyvek, are designed to be used once, are durable and should withstand all weather conditions.
All you need is a basic sports watch or GPS and a Paceband. In theory you can then adjust your effort to make sure you run an evenly paced race, giving yourself the best chance of meeting your time goal.
I’ll definitely be wearing one of the half marathon Pacebands I was sent when I take on the Great Birmingham Run in October. You never know, it might just help me run at a more sensible pace!
Do you have any tips that might help me improve my pacing? So far I’ve tried listening to music, running on a dreadmill, constantly staring at my Garmin and
**Full disclosure: I was sent a selection of Pacebands for free. I did not receive any payment from Pacebands.co.uk and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**