Finding the right pace is key to any sport. It’s about knowing your body (and mind), when to push and when to take it easy.
1. The right mindset
In running it really is the mind that drives the body. Especially ultra-distance runners will tell you that keeping the right mindset during a race is almost harder than keeping your body running. Before every training run and later in the Wings for Life World Run, try to come up with a clear mental image of your race and stick to the plan.
2. Pacing it
Finding your pace is nothing that can be taught. It has to be felt. The right pace means you’ll be one step closer to delivering great training and race results. Find someone of your ability or run with a GPS watch to see if you can keep a steady pace.
3. Handbrake on
Some athletes start like a bullet from a gun, then end up out of breath after a few minutes. It’s tempting to go with the masses and those sprinters in the front row, but my suggestion for the Wings for Life World run is that you take yourself back a notch and start slow. You can slowly move up to your usual pace once the field has stretched out a bit, and you don’t need to run around too many others any more: it distracts you from your race and pace.
4. Stick to the plan
I know it’s tempting: you feel great, your feet barely touch the ground (and if then only to change direction) and you feel you can go faster and faster. Don’t. I promise, it will come back to bite you and you'll finish with sore legs and a frustrating running experience. The best athletes are those who train hard, come up with a plan and stick to it.
Colin Jackson (48) is the International Sports Director of the Wings for Life World Run and two-time 110m hurdles world champion.