Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Too Fast, Too Soon...It Was Soooo Obvious

*The following post is a contribution to the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday.

A couple of years ago, I ran the Victoria Marathon. Great race in my old college town. I trained hard and planned to attempt a PR.
From reading the race material, I knew the course would be marked in kilometers and every 5 miles (I can't remember if every mile was marked).
I grew up in Canada. I know what a kilometer is. So I made my racing plan based on a pace per kilometer.
42 little checkpoints instead of only 26.
Check and correct more quickly. At least that was the plan.

I started out feeling awesome. Running in past old restaurants and through the streets that have great memories of where I met my best friend and convinced her to marry me :-)

I checked my watch every kilometer. Each one was 10-20 seconds faster than my plan.
Ok...I thought. I should probably slow down. But I was feeling great and 10-20 seconds is not that big of a deal. Maybe...if it was 10-20 seconds PER MILE.
1 kilometer = 0.621371192 mile
1 km is less than a mile...about 40 % less. I should not have been running 10-20 seconds faster.

I was thinking I was running about 2-4% faster than pace, when I was really running almost 10% faster than my goal pace. Well I was not actually thinking in percentages (I cannot do math while running!) but that pace already set me for a great PR.

I was making deposits into the time bank and we all know what that means: nothing close to a negative split and a second half of the race that was 15 minutes slower than the first half.
And then, when my body did start attempting to make withdrawals from the time bank, which soon overdrawn, I had no backup plan.
My only prep had been for the PR.
I should have had a plan for paces etc for a second level goal. Possibly even a third level. Likely I could have regrouped and hit a time that would have looked much better in the log book. :-)

It was sooo obvious..don't go out too fast, know what too fast means and always have a backup plan.


merrymishaps said...

I always try not to go out too fast, yet I never have negative splits. But I was pretty thrilled to have held a steady pace for my last 10-miler!

Michael said...

Since I'm a proud owner of a Forerunner 305, I can manage to stick to my planned pace, I just set an alert to notify me whenever I go too fast in the beginning. For the second half of the run, I disable the alert and only keep an eye on my HR. Worked out great for me.

I can only recommend this gadget. And it is even more helpful to me during the regular trainings.

Tree said...

I do math in my head when I run and find that miles go by quickly... and I usually end up with the wrong answer, but it can be fun and distracting for a bit.

I concur. I have gone out too fast many times and it feels so great in those early miles and then quickly turns against you.

Words of wisdom, truly.

Rooster said...

Here, here! I have to police myself with my HR monitor for the early miles or I pay the price. I know this but still lose control. Some lessons are never learned. :)

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

I am with you, going out too fast kills me every time. Negative splits rule! I try to work on them every run.

Aaron Geist said...

Speaking of "Pace yourself..."