Practice makes perfect when relating your effort level to how fast you’re moving.
The line between setting a new personal best and a near miss is often razor thin. A simple mistake like running just a few seconds too fast per mile at any point during a race could change your primary energy system and spell disaster for a personal record attempt. To make the task more difficult, your sense of pace and effort often get thrown off as adrenaline rushes through your body and hundreds of runners fly by you and test your ego.
Unfortunately, pacing is not an aspect of racing most runners are particularly good at. A recent study found that recreational runners misjudged their pacing efforts by almost 40 seconds per mile compared to experienced college runners, who were only off by about 10 seconds per mile.
Given the importance of pacing and its obvious difficulty for many runners, how do you separate yourself from the pack and train to pace yourself like clockwork? Particularly, where does pace training fit into a schedule already packed with threshold workouts, long runs, and VO2max sessions?