It has been said that using a pacer in a race is cheating. The Boston Marathon has banned pacers from the race and many professional runners feel they should not be allowed in competition. Using a pacer to help you train can be extremely valuable. For those of us who are not professionals we have our own tricks of the trade.
It has came to my attention that I was being passed many times a week an older gentleman. After the nineth or tenth time, he begin to bait me. A little come hither wave, a maybe todays your day spoken at me as he left me in his dust. In recent days, I have notice that my pace is significantly different on the days I see him and push my pace to keep up the friendly competition that has developed. It also made me wonder, what are other runners doing to motivate when it comes to pace. Its highly unlikely that many OMR (Other Mother Runners) are using the old man in the neon running socks to keep them on target.
Pacing can be tricky as every runner knows. Vetern runners keep lots of tricks of the trade up their sleeves when it comes to pacing and none of them include the old man on the hill but they can be quirky and personal. Pacing tricks can be helpul even if you run by a watch that keeps everything from your location to your heart rate. Checking the watch before your ready can be un-motivating and sometimes just changing your arm position to look at the time can slow you down.
Many experienced runners use music to motivate and to pace. After experimenting with different beats and songs they find one the matches thier go-to-pace. They add the song to a play list having it play once every two to three miles in order to check thier pace during a long run. The song you pick can also serve as a wake up call if you get lost in the zone as many runners do. You are at a comfortable pace, zoned out but when the beat changes you know its time to wake up and move your feet to the beat.
Landmarks can also be a simple way to check pace. A clock in the center of town can serve as a great marker for checking your mile pace without having to adjust your stature to check your watch if you are in the groove.
Treadmills can be great tools for runners but there is some debate in the running community as to whether they are friend or foe. You should never be using the treadmill for more then 15% of your training miles but one shorter run a week might help out with pacing. Using the easily seen display you can track your pace and train you legs and your brain to be comfortable and steady at your goal pace.
Those who run with their canine compainions have a built in pacer. Dogs can be great pacers, serving as friend, coach, and motivator. Measure a few runs with your best friend and than you will be able to gauge your pace on how well you and your furry pal are running together. (If you need to increase Fidos pace to match a new goal remember to build slow and be consistant, and add no more than 3-5% milage ever other week).
A professional athlete will use pacers as a coach, doctor, and phycologist. So pick you pacing guide to fit this desription. A friend, a dog, a song..what ever works and get you moving just a little faster than yesteday.
Got a pacing trick that works for you? Don't forget to share with the OMR (other mother runners).