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Marathon: Pace Groups? (Read 254 times)

    This pacing outfit does not run even splits.  Instead, they run a slower couple of miles for warmup, then a strong middle of the race, then allow for some slowdown at the end.  They also make adjustments for inclines, crowding, and other course-specific features.  I have run two marathons with them, and I think I'm a believer, although I haven't yet tried a marathon with an even pacer.

    Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


    Feeling the growl again

      My personal experience has been that in marathons I have good patches and bad patches.  If I were to run with a pace group during a bad patch and force myself to keep up, there would be no good patches after that.  My better marathons were fairly even just looking at the half splits, but that does not tell the whole tale.

       

      The only time I actually used a pace group it was a catastrophic failure....supposed to be 5:25 pace and they dropped two 5:13s in the first 9 miles (I let them go on the second one).  Basically blew up the whole group following them.  I'm not sure how you know in advance who will be a good pacer and who will not unless they already have built up a personal reputation for being good at it.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

        I've never been to a marathon where they had pacers below 6:52 (2:59) pace.  Where the heck did you find pacers that fast?

         

        My personal experience has been that in marathons I have good patches and bad patches.  If I were to run with a pace group during a bad patch and force myself to keep up, there would be no good patches after that.  My better marathons were fairly even just looking at the half splits, but that does not tell the whole tale.

         

        The only time I actually used a pace group it was a catastrophic failure....supposed to be 5:25 pace and they dropped two 5:13s in the first 9 miles (I let them go on the second one).  Basically blew up the whole group following them.  I'm not sure how you know in advance who will be a good pacer and who will not unless they already have built up a personal reputation for being good at it.

        spinach


          I agree with spaniel about the good and bad patches throughout the marathon, although my good patches I am sure are quite a bit slower than his bad ones.  I have never used pace groups throughout a race  for this reason and also because I feel a lot more comfortable running more or less on my own.  However there was one time where I found a pace group to be a great help.  I was trying to break three hours in San Francisco a couple years ago and I was right about on pace to hit three hours with less than a mile to go and I was dragging.  Then fortunately the three hour pace group caught me just then and I was able to stay with them and I finished just under three (2:59:52).  I probably would have had a 3:00:10 if they didn't show up.

           

          They are good when you are tired and need some help to keep going.


          Feeling the growl again

            I've never been to a marathon where they had pacers below 6:52 (2:59) pace.  Where the heck did you find pacers that fast?

             

             

            Chicago, pacing for the then-Trials standard of 2:22:00.  I don't think they had to hold a sign though.  Big grin

            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

             

              Baystate Marathon pacers are awesome.

              I would have to respectfully disagree - unless you are being sarcastic, and then I would agree.

               

              I was at Baystate in 2010 and wanted to run a 3:20 and luckily they had a 3:20 pace group.  Now, a 3:20 marathon comes in around a 7:38/mile pace.  The pushed out the first on in about 7:15, and didnt look like they were about to slow down, so I dropped them after that and never saw them again.  Though about 10 minutes later I did see a guy with a pace group shirt on for the 3:20 group who apparently had showed up late and was trying to catch up with them - doing about a 7:00 pace i would guess.

               

              Not a good pace group experience, but I would definitely try again.  From what I have heard (and a friend had warned me about them before hte race) at Baystate they are the Umass lowell XC team and had been known for going out too fast.  Maybe that was their plan all along, but I wasnt able to find them before the race to ask them.  I just happened to see them as the gun went off.

                Baystate now uses pace teams.

                  Baystate now uses pace teams.

                   

                  Professional ones?


                  ultramarathon/triathlete

                    I was the lead pacer at the NYCM 4:30 group  this month.  I brought my group to a 4:29:38 finish. (They were told they'd finish +/- 2 min of 4:30).

                     

                    At the expo and then in the coral, a LOT of people asked me what I was planning to run.  Negative split? Time for water stops? Bathroom stops? Adjust for up/down a hill?  These are the plans that typical runners will build into their strategy, but it's not good for a pacer to do this, in my experience/opinion.

                     

                    And the above should explain why.

                    I had at least 50 in my group,probably more.  Some planned to break/slow/walk for water, some planned to cruise through, some had a plan to run a neg split, some didn't want to risk it.  Some wanted to crawl up the hills (bridges, rather) and barrel back down, other's didn't.  So who does the pacer cater to?

                     

                    It should be everyone.

                     

                    Running a perfectly even pace (or as humanly possible as a pacer can be expected to) will allow anyone running slowly up a hill and quickly down to catch back up.  Or someone who banks time for water stops, and hits their stop, will catch back to the group.  The pacer is like that invisible line that keeps moving and you know where it is, always.  At mile 13.1, he/she'll be at exactly ?:??:?? time.

                     

                    I explained this to people and they were all cool with the idea (or polite/nervous enough to not question it).  I checked the finish photos and a LOT of the core group I ran with finish right with me, or within seconds.  So I think it worked.

                    HTFU?  Why not!

                    Coach: Empire Tri Club 

                    Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club


                    A Saucy Wench

                      Talk to the pacers....As you have gathered by now pacing strategy is massively different from race to race.  Portland (OR) marathon has had horrible pacing strategy historically.

                       

                      The central problem with the PDX pacers is they attempt to make up gun to chip in the first 5 miles and any time lost in the start.  AND they always come in fast.   If you are trying to pace with a pace team you shouldnt have been lined up in front of them to start so why the need to make up the time.  PDX starts off with narrow turns and some hills at the beginning.  The start is just a slow place.   I had budgeted losing a minute of chip time in the first 2 miles to be made up in the steady state sections.   So basically when it is all said and done they are pacing in miles 2-5 to make up THREE minutes.  Hella fast.

                       

                      The year I ran 3:44, I lined up with the 3:45 team and by mile 2 I had been passed by the 3:45, the 3:50, the 4:00 team.  I was aiming for 3:42-3:43 and I could not catch the pace team until right at the half which is when they switched pacers.  The pace team passed me again at about mile 21 or 22 and ended up running a GUN time of 3:43 or a chip time of about 3:41.

                      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                       

                      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                      King of PhotoShop

                        While much of what has been contributed focuses on the technical side, I strongly agree with Ennay's post above, in that the marathon requires so much training and preparation, that it seems insane not to talk with the pacers about their plan, then decide how you will handle it. If for example I would like to do my first two miles a tad off-pace, which has always worked for me, and I learn these guys are going to run even-paced miles, then that is okay. I may hit miles one and two up to ten seconds off and I know just what's going on.  There's plenty of time in the marathon.  Spareribs

                          I was the lead pacer at the NYCM 4:30 group  this month.  I brought my group to a 4:29:38 finish. (They were told they'd finish +/- 2 min of 4:30).

                           

                          Amazing - way to go!  I stuck with a 5:30 run/walk pace group at Chicago for first half.  The pace leader was also doing a great job - but I lost the group after stopping for a hug from my wife at the 13.1 point.  I think pace groups are an excellent race strategy.

                          See how they run...

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