Setting the right pace on the day is one of the toughest decisions to arrive at. After all the hours of training, assessing the progress and dissecting the intervals and endurance runs, accepting to start at an agreeable pace that guarantees success can still be one of the hardest reality pills to swallow. So what makes for intelligent pacing and can we level with ourselves to accept reality instead of chasing the clock?
What the stats say is always an accurate scientific approach to going over the start line with a proposed plan. Yet, it is the human element that will always have the last say in how close any individual will come to getting it right on the day.
- Stress. The external – family, work, social, financial.
- Stress. The internal – nutrition, mindset, physical health, training method.
Family relations are pivotal to a positive foundation of health. Honest appraisal #1: all my DNF’s and poor pacing days have occurred when I’ve been the stressor to my family and was not swift to neutralise the affect. So, a quick assessment of my situation and influence that potentially creates stress to others has a profound snowball effect on the ability to achieve a forecasted pace. The latest professional development that I am studying is with Precision Nutrition, and they provide formats to monitor stress to view trends and resolve with realistic planning.
Work. It has to be up there for most as a significant contributor to internal stress. Yet it starts from an external source. In my coaching career I have witnessed many who have started to struggle to perform at work as the training loads have increased, and vice versa. Going over the start line has been the opportunity to take anger and frustration to a palpable, “i’ll show them” level. It may work at the time, the long term benefits are negligible and the stressors remain.
Madmule has had the pleasure of helping several clients who, amongst several objectives they had set, had made a decision to move on from a social circle that wasn’t in touch, and openly negative with their interests. Honest appraisal #2 men find it particularly difficult to move from a social arena that has negative effects on physical and mental health. What I do now understand is that support I get has to be reciprocal and the snowball grows from there. There is no adventure… unless. This type of stress will have a say in how an individual goes over a start line. I’ll say now, the start line is a metaphorical for anyone reaching out to improve and achieve their best.
Financial is quite simple. This is to be viewed from individual to individual and it’s not my place to even give a tip on how it looks. From my own perspective financials have never been considered enough pre race and absolutely, 100%, are taken into account in recent times as part of the scan to understand what, if any, stress it is causing.
Exercise, participation in sport, challenges, are all awesome. Honest appraisal #3 it has served me well as a convenient distraction and has been a futile and painful engagement when ignoring the external factors that directly and indirectly add stress.
What external stress are you experiencing? How will you factor it into your personal pursuit, ambitions and physical challenges? Do it before stepping over the start line and the mind will pace your session proportionately and with an increased level of self respect. That, in its own way, is a measure of successful pacing.
Part 2 will present the internal factors to be considered. Nutrition, mindset, physical health and training method.
Best in training, health and happiness