Pace Judgement: An Important Running Skill

Often, and I speak from bitter experience, we see runners in difficulty as a race evolves and this is very as a result of poor pacing. I started the London 2012 marathon in good shape but went off way too quickly. This ended with me sitting on the side of the road somewhere in Canary Wharf then jogging in to finish.

When you run endurance races such as marathons then aspects like pacing can prove to be vital and the skill allows you to conserve energy by firstly not going off too hard and secondly by running at a more even pace with less surges. This in turn has an effect on running economy.

Working on pacing in a number of the run sessions you conduct can be used to develop this pace judgement. I think that specific sessions like that below help this and allow you to improve the skill.

So this is a simple 8 x 400m main set with recoveries being perhaps a 200m jog is an example. I have added some general timings so that you get the idea:

  • Rep 1: 400m in 1min 40s
  • Rep 2: 400m in 1min 30s
  • Rep 3: 400m in 1min 40s
  • Rep 4: 400m in 1min 40s
  • Rep 5: 400m in 1min 40s
  • Rep 6: 400m in 1min 30s

Try these sessions perhaps with or without a GPS and see how you get on.

The good news is that this is a skill as opposed to an ability. Practice this skill and you will get better at run pacing!

Last updated on January 9th, 2019.
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