Once you can run a distance, your next goal is to run it as fast as you can. To do that we need to pace it correctly. We've all been at races and seen someone fly off at the start only to blow up later and finish slowly... and be honest we've probably all done it ourselves too. Sometimes it's important to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare!
The biggest difference between a beginner runner and a more experienced competitive runner is with respect to training. A more experience runner will train at different speeds and have a better appreciation for paces. A good club runner should be able to tell the difference of a couple of seconds on a 400m lap. We'll look at pacing in more detail in a future article but for now, it's best to try and run at an even pace (effort level) throughout a race (ignoring negative splits for now). The best way is to practice at a pace, and understand what that feels like (e.g. breathing, stride length, arms, effort level etc) without having to refer to a garmin or watch.
To help people, we've set out paces for 5k & 10km below. We've taken a wide spread of times and set out what their equivalent is at 400m, 800m, 1km and 1-mile. This makes it easier for you to practice and understand what that pace feels like:
5KM PACING (16-35min Finish Times)
5KM PACING (36-50mins)
10KM PACING (31 - 45mins)
10K PACING (46 - 60mins)
10K PACING (61 - 75mins)
10K PACING (76 - 90mins)
TIP: If not at a track use a car, bike, route planner or garmin to mark out distances (e.g. by reference to tree/gate/sign/bus-stope/feature etc). Alternatively ask experienced runners, very often they will know some distance markers. There may even be physical markings already, the tow-path has small white markings coming in from both sides every 400m, plus parkrun venues will often have 1km markings in place.