What do I think about marathon (could be any distance) pacers?
There was a discussion within my academy #fitsians about pacers and I thought of sharing my views on the aspects of pacers and what a marathon runner could really expect from a pacer.
Before I share this let me start this with another question.
What are the things that one needs to run successfully run a marathon?
Marathon running is generally considered to be complex and there are many vital things need to fall in place for anyone to complete it. Most required characteristics can be developed through training (skills), reading & acquiring (knowledge), and many others by simply experiencing them.
Starting with right volume of training, having a clear goal in mind, patience, good frame of mind, right physical & mental strength, ability to take the inner cheerleader wherever you go and also shout at self when you are slouching, knowing the magnanimity of completing a marathon and how to break it down into pieces to eat it bite after bite, understanding the race day conditions and ability to make changes, fuelling and pacing strategies, ready to face those unknowns and doing the uncomfortable, be comfortable with it (this is my favorite part) … and this is just part of everything that you need.
Pacers are very useful for those who haven’t experienced all or parts of the above and also,
– running a marathon/that distance/terrain/weather conditions for the first time
– loves the company of groups and enjoys receiving instructions from experienced runners
– sometimes have a do or die goal (like a sub 5 hrs, 4:45 hrs, etc., or just a finish in case of Comrades for the first time)
What pacers CAN NOT do on the race day?
– be those superheroes who will take you to the finish line under your goal time
– help you with a nutrition and hydration plan during the run
– run for you or even carry you to the finish line
– worry or responsible for your goals
Running is an individual sport. Still, groups and other runners collectively bring the energy, drive, and motivation to do something unthinkable, sometimes. That’s why we go running marathons!
Ideally, I love to move forward towards my goal and the finish line without anyone’s support but at the same time never shy to take any support, however small it is to launch forward.
As a mature runner, one must develop abilities to get going without anything external affecting you. The best race is run when you train for it and execute it as per your plan.
Good pacers are just other runners who are much more disciplined in their approach and bring in good leadership skills. They know what to do and also aware of what they are doing.
I had paced in races many times in the past, and every time I start my race, I always wished to take a bunch of runners from the start to the end through my pacing/leadership strategies. But it never worked.
There are many runners who go super fast when the race begins and, meet me and join me bys after I cross 30 k. There are many who start with me and suddenly when I look back after 15k, they aren’t with me. They are few others who hop in and hop out at regular intervals. Throughout the course, I tend to affect many runners at different points in time. Not everyone can follow, all of my strategies, and run with me until we together cross the finish line.
What is ideal is when the pacer can support the strategy of the runner, on a particular point in time, and help him/her get through that challenging moment (mostly the psychological ones) successfully.
My wish as a coach
It’s my wish that all the #fitsians, those to be ideal runners, know what to expect from a race, how to apply their training and hard-earned past lessons, apply the pacing strategy, have patience, and enjoy every bit of the mile they run.
It doesn’t matter whether you are running alone, or in a race or part of a group or with or without the pacers.
Cheers & happy running,