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2. Not Learning How To Pace Yourself
Racing is an acquired skill, much like shooting a lay-up or swinging a golf club. Just like an athlete wouldn’t want to attempt a game-winning free throw if they had never practiced under those conditions, a runner doesn’t want to toe the starting line without a well-developed sense of pace. By relying exclusively on a GPS watch during training and workouts, a runner never develops the learned sense of pace that is critical to race day success. Even wearing a GPS device during a race doesn’t guarantee pacing success–what if the signal is lost, you have to surge frequently to get around other runners, or when it’s time to make a late race decision about how hard to push? Developing an innate sense of pace in training is a critical to taking the next step in racing.
What you can do to counter your dependency:
Implement workouts into your training routine that require you to change paces frequently and only use the GPS to confirm your sense of pace after each mile or record the data at the end of the run. Cutdown runs and alternating tempos are a great way to teach yourself what slight differences in paces feel like. In addition, these types of workouts can demonstrate to your mind and body how the effort required to maintain a certain pace gets harder as the race goes on, improving your late-race execution skills.