The art of pacing yourself correctly is the key to success in workouts and races. But like any other skill, it requires practice and understanding what it really means to “listen to your body.”
If you’re new to the sport of running, you may feel like you only have one gear. But with experience, you learn how to incorporate a variety of paces into your training. Effective race pacing can mean the difference between a blowup and a PR, and because of this pacing is a skill that requires consistent practice.
All runners who are seeking performance improvements should look to those at the top of their sport. That’s whether you’re a beginner trying to crack 30 in the 5k or a seasoned veteran looking to run a sub-3 marathon.
When it comes to pacing, elite runners are masters of this skill, knowing when to steady themselves and when to push, solely by feel. They understand how to make subtle shifts in pacing to maximize their performance.
So how can YOU learn to pace yourself like an elite?
While GPS devices can drive us away from tuning into our bodies, they can also be a useful tool when used correctly in a limited capacity. Learning how to balance the subjective and objective elements of a run starts with tuning into your mind, and taking the time to practice reflecting on your perceived effort in both workouts and races.
Matt Fitzgerald on why & how to master your pacing
If you enjoy reading about running and training, then this week’s guest likely needs no introduction. Matt Fitzgerald is a prolific writer, having authored more than 30 books on endurance training and sports. He has immersed himself in the endurance world and is constantly at the forefront of communicating ways to make your training more effective and productive.
Despite our shared last name, Matt is not a relative. But in addition to his writing, he is also a fellow coach and 2:39 marathoner. Matt’s most recent book, On Pace, seeks to help runners learn the art of pacing to get the most out of their training and racing.
Matt and I discuss many of the essential elements of pacing that he further addresses in his book, including:
- Pacing as the art of finding your limit
- Three key elements of pacing
- How GPS devices can both help and hinder your ability to pace yourself
- The simple and effective method of using perceived effort
- How experience and practice are essential to improve your pacing
- The importance of pace planning and evaluation for training and racing
- Why the road to pacing mastery is filled with mistakes – just don’t make them twice!
Enjoy this in-depth conversation on pace with my friend and colleague, Matt Fitzgerald!
Links & Resources from the Show:
- See where you can find On Pace
- Visit Matt’s website
- Check out the impressive collection of books Matt has authored
- Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter
- Check out 80/20 Endurance
- Listen to our previous conversation on making a comeback
- Get race pacing advice from the best!
Thank you SOAR!
I’m thrilled to introduce our newest sponsor, SOAR! This London-based brand makes high-performance running apparel that I’ve been loving over the last 5 months. If you watch our YouTube videos, you’ll have seen me rocking a ridiculously short pair of blue 1” split leg shorts.
I have been inseparable from my 1” split leg SOAR shorts and my SOAR painter’s hat this summer. And for good reason: their gear is elite-level. They have technically-groundbreaking wet and cold weather gear that’s guided by a “function-first” mentality. The result is just amazing apparel that is comfortable, light, and just effective and helping you train.
SOAR is at the forefront of design innovation with ergonomic designs, cutting edge fabrics, and continuously updated clothing that just keeps getting better. See for yourself at SOAR Running and make sure you use the code SRUN15 to save 15% off your order until the end of October.
Thank you Elemental Labs!
A big thanks to Elemental Labs for their support of this episode! They make electrolyte drinks for athletes and low-carb folks with no sugar, artificial ingredients, or colors. And you can get a free sampler pack of 4 flavors and 8 individual packets when you pay $5 in shipping.
Elemental Labs’ products have some of the highest sodium concentrations that you can find. Anybody who runs a lot knows that sodium, as well as other electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, are essential to our performance and how we feel throughout the day.
The citrus flavor has quickly become my favorite. I’m drinking one a day now to help me get enough fluids in our dry Colorado air. It’s tasty and delicious and I find that I’m not peeing every 45 minutes throughout the day, which might be an indication I wasn’t eating enough sodium.
There’s now mounting evidence that higher sodium intake levels are not unhealthy – and athletes need substantially more than your typical sedentary person. Of course, ask your doctor if you’re worried. But for those athletes running outside in the heat, an electrolyte replacement makes a lot of sense. So check out Elemental Labs to try their new flavor or get a free sampler pack.