Even Pace Produces Fastest Times.
You can improve your times by running at your fastest best pace as evenly as possible.
Pacing is learned in training by doing interval work with a stop watch until it becomes second nature to do fast repeat efforts over short distances in the same predetermined time.
Then when it comes to racing, after warming up well for the race, don’t start out too fast or too slow.
In training you can practise going out at exactly the pace of your projected race time.
The only real exception to this principle is the marathon, where you can expect to tie up a little at the end, so the pace you run at should project to a little faster than the time you expect.
Even with no improvement in fitness, say you had run a 10k averaging 4 minutes per km, but the first km was 3:40, then just by running another starting out at 3.55 minutes per km, you should be able to improve your time considerably. Running at a more even pace is the secret.
And you can use pacing charts to project from your race performances what you might run for other races. For example if your 3k pace is 100 seconds per lap and your 5k pace is 105 seconds per lap, then you can aim for 102 second per lap in the 5k confident that it is easily achievable.
However I find that most people are quite conservative about how much improvement they are capable of. So at times throw caution to the winds - see principle #8 below for a racing rather than a pacing perspective. Which is right? Both, of course.
"Racing Principle #9 - Even Pace Produces Fastest Times"
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