Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's all about pacing

As I have mentioned previously I coach half marathon clinics. I have another one that has just started with a bunch of new and eager faces looking to complete the Vancouver International Half in May.

The first few weeks are always interesting, each clinic develops a personality a vibe but the one thing that is always consistent is how could I possibly know more than them. Irregardless of the fact that I have lost count of the number of half's I have run, that I have completed full marathons, or that if you could screw up or injure it I have done it and if I have not done it yet rest assured I will do it. From overtraining, to training too fast, to not eating properly, to not stretching, to not training enough and so on-and so forth. I got the bumper sticker or I am in the line at the cashier just waiting to pay for it. But I repeat WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW?!?!

So because I am fully aware that it will take about 5 weeks - around the time we start running 14km and up before they will realize that I might know something I always introduce them to my secret weapon - June. June - aka June Bug is my secret weapon because the most important thing I can teach runners is patience and pacing. That there are different paces for different runs and they all have their place in training but the most important run is the Sunday - Long SLOW Distance run that we run slowly. They all go okay and then on SUnday's they jump into a pace group they have no business training with because it is too fast for them for SUndays and they are overtraining. Then come race day they don't understand why they trained with the 2 hour pace group but finished with the 2:15 group. But what do you do you can't yell at them -well you can but I find they don't respond well. YOu can't leash them - apparently their are laws against this. All you can do is repeat it and repeat it and then introduce June.

Running half marathons and more importantly full marathons is all about patience and correctly pacing your run. You are running 21.1 km or 42.2km it does not make sense to use all your energy in the first 10km. June does this like a text book.

I first met June about 2 years ago while training for my 3rd full marathon. We are great friends now and kindred spirits that love our beer and our long runs. June is a high school English teacher who is also working on her Masters. I quite frankly think she farts rainbows.

When I met June I was pace group leader for the 4:30 (4 hours 30 min) group. She had walked lots of marathons but this time she wanted to run it. She however had started training with a faster pace group then she should have and ended up injured early so she was sent back to the 5 hour pace group for the rest of the clinic. She could still run she just had to do it slower on Sundays. The thing though was June did it and she did all her hill work and other runs with a smile - nothing phases June she is always smiling, but I digress.

So I skip forward to race day and off we went I started behind June and the gang and figured I would pick-up my pace as I went along - which is what I did and it worked perfectly. I eventually passed them around 5 miles in and kept chugging and then in the final km I look beside me and there is June! Holy crap! Well I wish I could say we crossed holding hand but we did not because the other thing me and June share is a competitive streak and she sped up, passed me and finished in front of me. I was thrilled for her. Her time just over 4 and 1/2 hours.

Every race June does she has a personal best, EVERY RACE, and it is because of the way she trains and races. She trains on Sunday's now as the 4:30 pace leader but her last marathon she finished in 4 hours 12 minutes. Most people would automatically train with the 4 hour group or for 4 hour 15 min even but June gets it. By running slower on Sundays she is improving her endurance by running her Tempo runs at the correct pace and working on her form during her hill workouts and then slamming it on speed work she continues to take time off her finish times. Oh and did I mention June is 52.

So as we start a new clinic I will bring June in to explain to the group about pacing and my group leaders will talk about it and some will get it but most won't at least not the first time. But I am getting more and more to buy in as more and more try it and find success.

Fighting the good fight


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