Friday, July 12, 2013

Running Roundtable I: Mid-Race Fatigue

In this new installment to our blog, we ask a number of Pacers runners independently answer a crucial question about running. This week's question:
What do you do when you're in the middle of a long race and you're tiring?

Mike Crozier: I think the most important thing about mid-race fatigue is to stay relaxed and break it up into smaller pieces.  Like if you're in a 10K race and you go out in 9-flat for the first two miles when your pace was supposed to be 9:10, you can't fix that in the next mile, so you have to take a relaxed approach and slowly get back into pace while maintaining a good cadence and a good breathing rhythm.

Dustin Sweeney: If you're not getting tired in the middle of a long race then you're not running right. It's just a matter of focusing and keeping rhythm. Race awareness is also important; knowing where you are and how to attack the remainder of the race.  The neuromuscular system is one of the first parts of your body to fatigue, this will cause your form to break down.  This is often the first cue of fatigue, knowing this and keeping your form together will help override fatigue.

Steve Hallinan: I think of all the training I put in and give positive self-talk to reinforce it. The idea in a race is that you're tired so just kind of work through that. I'm also kind of reliving workouts in my mind and that gives me a little confidence.

Samia Akbar: Try to stay relaxed and not tighten up. I think the tendency is to say I feel terrible and mentally you fall apart. You can play little games to try to stay on pace. You can look at your watch a little more and break things down by goals. Do whatever you can to take the focus off how tired you might be or how tight you might feel. Make it more about the race and being competitive as opposed to how you're feeling in the moment.

Tripp Southerland: If it's a 5K, I'm not going to pay attention to fatigue. I'm going to run as fast as I can no matter what. If it's a marathon, I'm gonna slow down to preserve energy for the entire distance. Mentally, I just try to make it to the next mile marker. I trick myself into thinking that the finish line is the next marker whether that mile marker is 21 or 22. So basically, my mental strategy is to make it one more mile regardless of whether the finish is there.

Frank DeVar: I pretty much force myself to relax and I say make it to the next mile mark.
The big thing is not to panic and slow down a lot. When you slow down a lot and adjust your pace too much, it's difficult to get that turnover back. Typically a feeling of mid-race fatigue so bad that you just want quit the race only happens if you take it out too quickly, and then you get into oxygen debt. So when that happens, there's not a lot you can do. The trick is you gotta have a good understanding of your body and knowing what it can handle early on.

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