Friday, February 5, 2010

Cruise Control

With the Mercedes Marathon little more than a week away, I have been trying to decide how I plan on running this race. I haven't changed my strategy for the race, but I've been trying to decide if I will free-wheel the race, or run with a pace group. As with anything else, there are pros and cons for both:

Pro's of running with a pace group:
  • eliminates the need to watch your Garmin during the race
  • instant friends to talk to (this can also be a "con" for pace groups)
  • ability to "zone out" and just run free
  • less mental effort required (this also can be a "con")
  • pace leader may remind everyone to hydrate/take nutrition/etc.
  • shared suffering
Con's of running with a pace group:
  • takes away a lot of the need for race strategy 
  • leads to decisional lethargy (see point #3 above)
  • potential for feeling obligated to talk to everyone for 25.2 miles :)
  • forces you to trust pace leaders ability to stay on pace (sounds simple, but some pacers are better than others)
  • pacer may sometimes fall off pace in latter miles as many/most of pace group runners begin to slip on their pace
Pace groups are great for certain types of races, and I have used them before. I've had great results and less than great results, depending upon the pacer, the race venue and the group of runners in the pace group itself. It's a personal decision much like your choice of gel brand. I greatly appreciate the service these runners offer, at no compensation to themselves.

As for Birmingham in 8 days, I am leaning toward running with the 3:40 pace group until mile 20, and then evaluating where I am physically. At that point, I will likely peel off and move on ahead toward the final 6.2 miles on my own. I've used this approach before, and it helps reap the best of both worlds.

We'll see how it works in Birmingham..

P.S. - the hamstring stretches CONTINUE. Great results so far.

1 comment:

  1. You make some good points on pace groups. I'm always worried I won't be able to stay with a pace group or I'll join one that's too slow (not likely for me). Then I wonder if I'd feel obligated to stay with them for the whole race. And the talkers, I'm not a talker while I run - takes too much energy :)!