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Pacing is cool if you do it for a long time

April 6, 2011 Leave a comment

The tortoise and the hair were right or more correctly the tortoise was right. I’ve been trying to come up with a good way to explain the importance of pacing for the past few months now and I think I’ve come up with a better way than when I started. I was running at my local park, it must be a 100 yards away, and I was jogging past a bunch of people, but I was going incredibly slow. At first I just wanted to warm up and then I didn’t want to get injured (park has to many soft spots) and then I was doing a cool down.

While I was jogging past them I thought I must look really dumb jogging this slow. I must look really dumb until I come back around. If you see someone come around that slow you might think “Oh, I could probably do that, that’s easy.” Then they come back around, “Hmmm.” And around “Well, maybe I could do that.” And around “Damn. This guy just keeps going.” And around, “Show off.”

The hair is a really great runner and he has a lot of strength so he can fly by people. Doing a fly by is a really great way to impress people because they can’t see most people slow down right after the corner (at least when you’re in an event). The tortoise may have gone really slow but in the end he wins the race, people will cheer along the way but not like they do for the hair until the end of the race when the victor comes in.

6:00 minute mile is pretty fast for most people, they are running at 10 miles per hour. Not many people in the world can keep a pace that long, especially for 13 miles or more. I probably couldn’t run a 6:00 minute mile and if I could I know I would be dying to stop right after the accomplishment occurred. It’s the same for running a 12:00 minute mile or a 15:00 minute mile (jogging vs. walking, respectively). Let’s say you were jogging quickly at the 12:00 minute pace for 10 miles but then you walked a 25:00 minute mile afterward the rest of the time (not unlikely, it happened to me at an event in Irvine to a lighter degree), in the end you would finish the same time as the person walking a 15:00 minute mile pace. The same goes for times that are even closer. Roughly 11:45 minute mile pace and a 12:00 minute pace is the difference between a 2:29:00 and a 2:36:00, roughly. Seven minutes might not seem like much, but after 13 miles and 2 1/2 hours of running, it’s a huge accomplishment. If anything, if that happened to me, I’d be smiling.

Most people are in the gyms and outside to impress people and, you say, “oh no they’re not” but if you know how the machines actually work and you know about physiology, most people are in it for a hair’s pace. They’re in it to strut their stuff and make a few heads turn which is a great ego boost, it’s one of the main reasons for working out, to feel better. I don’t blame them, every once in a while I do it, but, there’s always a price to pay such as increased risk of injury. Showing off will always lead to the inevitable if you’re going long distances, the realization that you’re muscles and your mind aren’t ready for the extended work.

The same thing happens for half marathons and marathons. You’ll see a few people in an event throughout the entire event and you’ll see other people that passed you up who were going pretty quickly and you feel bad about yourself, “Why can’t I go any faster?” “I must be going really slow, I should pick up my pace.” 10 minutes later you’ll see them again, and then you’ll see them at the same level as you, and then you’ll see them behind you, that is, if you care to look back. I haven’t been doing halfs for that long, only since June but it happens every time, people are going faster than they can handle; the unavoidable occurs, they either get tired or they run out of energy and everyone they just passed are now passing them.

The great thing about pacing and about pacing yourself is that you can always go slower. If you’re running 5 MPH which is a 12:00 minute mile pace and you feel like you’re going to fast then try going 4.5 MPH which will be a 13:33 minute mile pace. There are some people that can walk faster than that but if you’re still jogging at a slower pace most of the time you’ll be going faster than a walking pace and if you go long enough you’ll be unbelievably ahead (in the sense that you won’t believe how much you’ve gone). 13:33 minute mile pace and a 15:00 minute mile pace is the difference between 30:00 minutes roughly for a half marathon, it would be 60:00 minutes for a marathon.

So, when do you slow down and when do you speed up? You have to listen to your body. If you’re running a long and all of a sudden you say to yourself, “Dang, I’m not sure I can keep this up much longer.” Than you should slow down for half a mile or until you feel like you can go a little bit faster. I was jogging with a pacer for a 2:30:00 for the Tri-City Carlsbad half marathon. We were doing a 12:00 minute mile pace and some miles we were doing 11:45 and others we were doing 12:05 and the difference in your body movements is incredibly subtle but they make all the difference. If I did an 11:30 the whole time I probably wouldn’t have made it more than 5 to 6 miles. The difficult part is the change in speeds which follows with a slight mental awareness and a slight muscle strain (little burn that makes it that much harder for 10-15 seconds). But if you can power through the burn and keep your mind from stopping your body, you should be able to run longer distances in no time.

I hope this shines some light on the word pacing and makes slower a little more desirable. Take care everyone and we hope to see you at the Donate Life Run/Walk, OC.

[This post is a rebuttal to all thoughts of wanting to go quicker for a short period of time and not going slower for a longer period of time. This post isn’t really for running advice, I can provide a few tips but you’re much better off talking to a coach or a trainer (trainer that knows how to run).]

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Categories: Helpful, Tips of the Trade

Team WeNGUH Meets the Blog World

July 18, 2010 1 comment

We brought our team to the Rock ‘N’ Roll series and the California Dreamin’ Racing Series and now we’re bringing it to Blogger. We’ve done quite a few events running and even more so jogging and walking so we thought we would take our experiences in the past and experiences we will have and share them with the world. Hopefully, we can inspire the uninspired and give advice to others so they can be in the know. Most importantly, we hope to teach you how to keep going the extra mile when it really counts.

We hope you like what we have to offer and we hope you have fun while you continue to run, jog, and walk throughout your events and throughout your life.

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