A pacing lesson from a race that will talked about for the next 100 years
There is one race that will be talked about for at least the next 100 years and is guaranteed to be talked about long into the future as long as humans keep running.
That race was the Boston Marathon in 2018.
A lot of worry fills the air in Boston every year.
First-time runners always worry about the strategically designed course that forces the runners into seemingly endless climbs and repeated pounding descents.
But, the worry was particularly bad that year.
The projected bad weather that day (and it ended up being worse than projected) distracted even many-time finishers.
A lot of mental energy was being wasted by focusing on things that runners had no control over such as the wind and hills.
The hills weren't bulldozed flat since last year and the windy, chilling weather was going to blow no matter how much hope there was that it would clear out.
The reason that I bring this race up again is that it illustrates one point perfectly:
The greatest runners focus on what they can control.
And, to be clear, I don't mean to call Boston Marathoners "not-great."
They are and have some of the most inspirational stories in running.
However, I think many of the suffering finishers, while proud to have finished, would agree that their mindset that day was not their "greatest."
Rather than wishing how much the conditions would go away so that it would not disrupt their goal to finish in a certain time, they should have been focusing on how to pace their race.
All of these hopeful thinkers were about to learn an important lesson:
As much as runner's like to think they can fully control their finishing time and running speed, they cannot.
Runners can only control their intensity.
Windy weather and hills may try to force more intensity out of you than you are capable of giving.
You can either give into these forces, overexert yourself by trying to run to some idealistic speed, and have a disastrous race.
Or, you can decide to keep a consistent running intensity (a.k.a. running power) in these conditions to perform to your capabilities and still place well.
If you exert more power, much of that power will go towards forward motion and you will run faster.
But, a lot of power will be required to do various other things as well, such as:
- maintain your running form
- overcome air resistance
- climb a hill.
This is why Stryd breaks running power down into components:
Form Power shows how much power is required to maintain your running form as you fatigue.
Air Power shows how much power is required to overcome air resistance.
Power output lets you keep a consistent effort up a hill.
With these metrics, you can fully understand and have a good bit of control of where your power output is going.
You will stop worrying about factors outside of your control and instead run to your capability, regardless of the weather or course conditions.
As everyone else suffers or runs blindly into unexpected conditions, you can choose to place higher and perform better relative to the competition with smart pacing guided by running power.
You can start running with power by ordering Stryd from the link below: