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Running at the Mouth

Running at the Mouth image 1

Running at the Mouth

by Margot Manning


WATCH OUT !!  Why you need a watch.


Pace, heart rate zones, GPS, tempo, threshold, float, and run by feel…     

So many words and phrases you keep hearing as you are trying to make sense of your new training plan.  It’s like waking up on a Monday morning looking at your to-do lists!

Mind boggling and daunting.  


Don’t worry.   All of these will make sense in time and all of them have a place in your training because of the one common thread with them all…   is pacing.

Running is supposed to be a simple sport.  You know… strap on your shoes, out the door and back in time for work, or packing lunches.  The problem is that for many runners, this stretches out and becomes more painful and less enjoyable experience than you want.  


The problem is that in this early part of the year when you are returning to running you have to learn or relearn your sense of pace judgement. Your ability to run by feel has not yet developed and you are more likely to run too fast at the beginning of your runs.  


Learning to run by feel and developing pace judgement is about honing your sixth sense.  But you can’t do this without first using a control measure like time or heart rate from your watch.   The times, paces and heart rate stats you see on your watch give you immediate feedback to adjust how you are running.  The repetition of this feedback gives the cues that change your perception of knowing what’s too hard or not hard enough.  

Over a period of weeks and months, this will become more internalised and you ’ll finish your runs so much happier because you have learnt pace judgement. Yes, it does happen, but it takes practice.  


I asked three of intraining’s elite runners, Clay Dawson, Aidan Hobbs and Brendan Press, what tech system they used when training.  All of them preferred the low tech option allowing them to run by feel rather than by stats. However, they still use timing and GPS or heart rate as a part of their training.

Brendan Press, who placed 3rd in the state 3000m Champs, said “I mostly use feel but only after working out how each session is meant to feel.  I find heart rate monitors to be particularly useful in threshold sessions”.

Clay Dawson, a multi-marathon winner, uses GPS over heart rate, and Aidan Hobbs also prefers the low tech option.  Aidan did comment on how much he enjoys the Garmin Pay feature…. “this lets me buy the post-session slushies without having to find my wallet”  ????


So you don’t compare yourself to these elites…  remember that pacing can help any level of runner.  One of our past Marathon Schoolers, Cassie Richardson, did an amazing negative split in her marathon last year.  Pacing matters.


For your own training, use your watch.  

Make the most of looking at your splits, times and paces because later in the year I am going to challenge you to ditch it and post just how well you have developed your sixth running sense.  


Keep pace and run happy


P.S.  I’d love to know your best tip for training to learn pace….   So, when you have time, send me an email with your advice about learning pacing.  

The tip I’d love you to send is “When it comes to learning pacing what is the most significant strategy you have used with success?”  Feel free to write as much as like in your email.

Send me your best pacing advice.