The Importance of Starting Slow

by - Thursday, September 02, 2010

One thing I'm slowly learning as I train for my races is the importance of starting a run nice and easy. It doesn't matter whether that run is supposed to be a tempo run, a long run or just and easy short run.

Easing into it makes it easier to stay strong throughout the workout and pick up the speed later if necessary.

This week of training perfectly illustrates how great a run can be if you start slow and how crappy it can be if you start to fast.

The Good:

Tuesday's run was a 45 minute tempo run. My plan was to warm up for one mile and then try to push myself just a little bit harder in each mile after that.

My first mile split was a little quicker than I had hoped, but I felt OK, and so I kept pushing through. As a result I ran 4.94 miles in 45 minutes.

Here are the splits:

1 9:34
2 9:12
3 9:03
4 8:47
.94 8:29

I was successful doing the same thing with Wednesday's easy run. My times were slower, but it was still a negative split run.

The Bad:

Now this morning's run called for five miles at pace. I planned to use the same strategy as Tuesday: start slow then pick it up.

But that didn't work for me. I started too fast and felt like I was working too hard right away. Even though my times were actually slower than Tuesday's run, I felt like I was working a lot harder the entire run because I started too fast.


1 9:38
2 9:19
3 9:38
4 9:23
5 10:12

I hate having my last split be the lowest. I mean I know I'm tired by the end of the run and all, but had I eased in to the run and reserved some energy I could have finished feeling strong. Not completely dead.

The moral of the story here:
Start slowly. It's better to ease into a run and finish strong than go out to fast and burn out.

How do you pace yourself so that you don't burn out at the end of a workout?

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