Jason posted a list of the most common marathoning mistakes the other day and one was, not surprisingly, going out too fast. Not that I’d know anything about that or anything…GUILTY! On more than a few occasions.
It’s funny, when I used to do triathlons exclusively, I was really good at keeping my early run pace in check, and to good effect. I don’t know if it’s the fact that, no matter how many bricks you do, your legs are just going to be a big sluggish in that first 1/2 mile or so of a triathlon? Not sure, but I do know that my 10k PR to this day came at the end of an Olympic-distance tri.
Once I switched to mostly running races, I discovered that I sometimes take my races out too fast. For someone whose legs love to negative split, this is a recipe for disaster. I’ve had enough of these experiences to learn from them. That said, here are my tips for keeping the pace in check at the start:
- It’s got to feel slow–ridiculously slow–when you first start the race. Maybe it’s tapered legs, maybe it’s adrenaline, or maybe both, but for some reason, that first mile never feels hard, even if it’s too fast. Counter that effect by making sure you feel like you are moving at a snail’s pace. You won’t be, trust me.
- Let others go. Resist the urge to take off with others who have forgotten the last tip. You’ll pass them later when they get tired–and it will feel good too!
- Check your splits early and often. If that first miles clocks in too fast, slow it down right away. You don’t have much of a chance to save a little something for the end if you don’t get control of the pace asap.
- Make a plan to negative, or at the very least, even split the race and then stick to it. Don’t let the “I’m feeling great” sensation take over.
- Repeat after me: “I’m going to suffer like a dog if I don’t run a smart race.” You don’t want to do that, do you?
Have you ever taken a race out too fast and paid for it?
What tips would you add to the list?
If you entered my BTB Sunglasses giveaway, the lucky winner is number 18, Paula. Let me know which pair and BTB will send them out to you!