Not Practicing Pacing Techniques
Learning to properly pace yourself during a race is one of the most critical skills a runner can develop. The line between setting a new personal best and a near miss is razor thin, especially if you are a veteran runner with an impressive training log and lofty goals. Running just a few seconds too fast or too slow at any point in your race could change your primary energy system and spell disaster for a personal record attempt.
Consider Haile Gebrselassie’s world record attempts at Berlin in 2008, where he became the first person to run a marathon in under 2:04, and Dubai in 2009, where he faded badly the last 10 kilometers. In Dubai, Gebreselssie was a mere 23 seconds faster at halfway compared to his world record pace in Berlin the year before. However, even this small shift in pace (about one second per kilometer) resulted in a crash that resulted in him finishing some 90 seconds slower than his Berlin time over the final 10k.
Unfortunately, pacing is not an aspect of racing most runners are particular good at. A recent study found that recreational runners misjudges pace by almost 40 seconds per mile compared to an experienced college runners that estimates inaccurately by just 10 seconds per mile.
What To Do
Work tirelessly throughout your training these next few months to improve your pacing skills. You can follow the tips in this article to hone your pacing skills. In addition, you can work to shed your reliance on Garmin and GPS apps and learn to run by feel. Regardless, the more you practice the better prepared you will be for race day.