When I arrived at the gym I noticed an old friend using the treadmill. He is a wise, highly experienced fell runner and always uses the machine on its highest incline setting. What was unusual on this occasion was his clip board. It isn’t that often you find people using a clip board in the gym. Every so often he would stop, adjust the ramp, and take a note of his heart rate before starting again. Sometimes he would run, sometimes he would break to a walk. When I eventually asked him what he was up to he revealed a secret formula which worked out the optimum point for switching from running to walking up steep hills in fell races. Fascinating. Unfortunately, when he sent me the excel spread sheet it was so comprehensive that I couldn’t comprehend it. In order to use it effectively I’d need to race with a calculator, clip board and assorted pens. That’s why this run pace chart, although equally fascinating, should also be applied with a pinch a salt.
An idea of your pace is great for running on the track and fairly level roads. You can begin to feel what it is like to run at a particular pace. The build-up of your running memory will definitely help with pacing your triathlon run leg or 10k and other road races.
Don’t be a slave to the pacing chart. Stuff happens in races which will throw your calculations out.
- Maybe the course has some slopes which will obviously make those uphill miles slower and downhill sections flatteringly fast
- You may find the organisers have put the mile / km marker in the wrong place. Those of us who have been given the task of hanging out the markers before a race will know it’s not an exact science. ‘We didn’t put it here last year, in fact since 1989 Harry has always put the 6 km marker by the Rose and Crown, 400 m further up the road.’
- Those of you who have experienced racing into a good headwind will know that this can also make a difference
Please don’t bother asking for the formula for calculating the optimum point to break from a run into a walk while running up steep hills. There are some secret techniques that the world is not ready for yet.
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