I learned a lot today about pacing. In running (as well as in life) there's two different kinds of pacing. There's the pacing when you train, and pacing when you perform. Both are important because if you go too fast, you burn out. If you go too slow, you're just slow and won't perform at your best.
It's important to pace your training and races because if you race too much, you end up pushing your body too much, and not helping it. Look at what you run and how much you push yourself in each run. Every training run you go do shouldn't be done at race pace, but at the same time, it shouldn't be done slow. To pace yourself is to balance yourself with what you can do, so as not to burn out and not reach peak performance for a race. In training, it's important to plan ahead, but at the same time, know yourself well enough so that you could change plans mid-run. The thing about pacing yourself during the week is that you need to plan for the unplanned. There are many factors that may enhance our runs or slow us down, and depending on how we're feeling at that moment and what we're training for, it's important to understand that and take the appropriate measure.
In racing itself, pacing is important because when you run too fast in the beginning, you end up tiring out and losing your power. If you go slowly at the beginning, then you'll have a hard time catching up with everyone else. Perfect pacing ends up looking like this: There's no possible way you could have run any faster in that race. Pacing yourself in a race means that you're running efficiently, and at the same time, when the course changes, you adjust accordingly. Should the course go uphill, you look at the distance between you and the finish line and your capabilities on the hill and change your cadence and stride, adjusting your speed so that you could make the best out of the situation and run a good race.
Overall, pacing is important and the person that has their pace perfect is the person who knows their body perfectly. The more you know about your body, the better your pacing CAN be. Notice that I said the word 'can' because at times, we ignore what we know and run forward beyond what we can do, messing with our own pace.
Knowing yourself can bring out the possibility, mental strength is another aspect that we need to work on because it helps us with the usage of the knowledge, and apply it... since what good is knowledge if it's not well applied?
Today, I started cycling to school on my friend's mountain bike and after going 6.11 miles, a co-worker saw me and pulled over and drove me to work. After work, I rode the bike a little more than 5 miles, and then met up with an individual that was selling his bicycle on craigslist. I took a look at the bike and knew that that bike was something that I wanted. I bought the bike for $250 and right after that, rode 18.43 miles back home (even though I knew that tomorrow I was going to have a 5k race). Biking that distance, I understood the importance of pacing... especially when it came to uphill cycling. It was a brutal course, but I managed to get back alive, proud that I biked from work all the way back home on my 'new' hybrid bike.
Can't wait for tomorrow's 5k. I know I'm not going to do fantastic, but at the same time, it's going to be good to put myself in a short race like this.